September 9th, 2009
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 14.5 million people unemployed around the country. In California, the unemployment rate is now at 11.5 percent. While the poor economy may be wreaking havoc on people in terms of their homes and getting basic necessities, there is another area that it is also being affected – our teeth. Researchers have reported in the Journal of Periodontology that financial stress can have a big impact on one’s teeth, if proper coping strategies are not followed.
“When you think about the poor economy and what negative impacts it can have on the body, most people don’t think about their mouth,” says Dr. Roger Eshaghian, of the Beverly Hills Dental Center, located in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Yet if you don’t have adequate ways to cope with the financial stress, you may very well end up developing gum and mouth diseases as a result.”
Coping skills are essential to dealing with the everyday stressors that come our way, including those being caused by the current recession. If people are not proactive in keeping their stress level at bay, they may end up engaging in teeth grinding, neglecting their usual brushing and flossing habits, or end up not keeping up with their routine dental visits. This can lead to periodontal (gum) disease, which has also been associated with diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other health conditions.
Along with eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fresh water, you can take better care of your teeth by establishing good oral hygiene habits, which includes keeping up with dentist visits. If you question whether or not you can afford dental appointments, keep in mind that on average, for every dollar you spend on dental preventative care, it saves you anywhere from $8-50 on restoration and emergency treatments.
It is also imperative, especially during this financial crisis, to do things to help your body cope with stress. Good options include taking walks, practicing yoga, journaling, doing tai chi, exploring hobbies, and meeting regularly with family and friends.
“We may not be able to solve all our financial problems immediately, but learning to cope with the stress is essential to maintaining our health through this,” adds Dr. Eshaghian. “Besides, you want to protect your smile, because you will be doing a lot of it when the country pulls through and economic confidence is again restored.”