Losing teeth over money

Published: Saturday 15 January 2000

When parents tell their children that sucking a toffee would ruin their teeth, they can add one more warning -- worrying too much about money could be more harmful to your teeth. R J Genco and his colleagues of the State University of New York at Buffalo, USA, studied stress levels of 1,426 people between the ages of 25 and 74. It was clear from the study that people with healthy teeth were those who could cope well with stress. In other words, people who reacted to stress by taking action to avert their problems, rather than by drowning their sorrows or ignoring them altogether, had the healthiest teeth. On the other hand, the risk for periodontal disease (caused by bacterial infection of gums) was greater in those with high levels of financial strain. In fact, so strong was this particular correlation that the more serious were people's money worries, the more tenuously were their teeth connected to their gums ( Journal of Periodontology , Vol 70, No 7).

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