Dear Diseased

Dear Dr. H,
My dentist says my gum disease can be due to stress. This seems ridiculous, and yet it is also true.
How do you catch gum disease?
Dear Friend ( I can’t call you diseased! ),
Do you remember when your mom told you to wear a coat or you would catch a cold? Or that if you went outside with wet hair you were asking for the flu?
The truth is that you catch a cold from being exposed to a cold virus and you catch the flu by being exposed to the flu virus.
However, you are more likely to get sick from the virus if your immune system isn’t working well and you can’t fight off the virus. Your immune system doesn’t work as well when you are cold and tired and stressed. ( Mom was pretty smart!)
Gum disease is caused by bacteria. You must “catch” the bacteria from someone or something. Most of us have been exposed at one time or another to this bacteria.
Keeping the bacteria from multiplying is how you control gum disease once you are infected. ( Sorry, you will never be able to totally remove the bactera. An antibiotic won’t even kill all of it.) Brushing and flossing keeps the bacteria in check along with having a healthy immune system. Stress, dry mouth, and many immune suppressing diseases ( example: diabetes) can make it harder to control the bacteria in your mouth. This is when extra brushing and flossing and a professional cleaning can help remove bacteria.
So, yes, your gum disease is acting up because of stress!
Dr. H

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