Kim Schworm Acosta

Coping with stress doesn’t just relieve your mind, it also boosts your oral health.

Research shows that people who are stressed are more likely to have gum disease -- perhaps because long-term anxiety can impair the immune system and allow bacteria to invade the gums. Chronic stress also contributes to teeth grinding, which can cause mouth pain and tooth damage.

But who has time for a yoga class every day?

Fortunately, there are several ways you can lower your stress level and protect your oral health fast.

1. Practice heart-centered breathing

Deborah Rozman, who holds a doctorate in psychology and is the author of Transforming Stress, recommends heart-centered breathing . To feel calmer, first focus your attention in the area of your heart, in the center of your chest. Notice your breath and imagine it flowing in and out through that area. While focusing on your breath, think about a past experience, person or pet to evoke emotions of appreciation, compassion and love. Practice this for three to five minutes a few times a day or whenever you start to feel agitated -- like when you’re waiting in line.

2. Reconnect with your purpose.

“Spend some time thinking about the reason behind all the things on your to-do list that are stressing you out,” says Fred Luskin, who holds a doctorate of psychology and has written Stress Free for Good. If your goal is for the kids to have a nice summer, for example, it won’t happen if your well-intentioned plans make you irritable and prone to lashing out.

3. Write it down.

Worried you’ll forget to do something? Puzzling over a problem? Clear your mind by jotting down your thoughts as they come to you. Keep a small notebook or electronic organizer with you for this purpose, and put it on your nightstand for middle-of-the-night concerns. Later, sort through troubling issues with a trusted friend or your partner.

4. Take action.

A top cause of stress is feeling a lack of control, says Rozman. Blaming others only magnifies your feelings of helplessness; so instead, do something. “If you’re feeling bad about a fight you had with your spouse, call and apologize,” suggests Rozman. “Instant stress relief.”

5. Talk to your boss. Three-fourths of Americans cite work as a cause of stress, according to the American Psychological Association. Concerned about layoffs? A great way to secure your position is to offer to take something off your boss’s plate, says career coach Cynthia Shapiro, author of What Does Somebody Have to Do to Get a Job Around Here? “You’re stressed? Well, your boss is twice as stressed,” she says. “Ask where [s]he’d most like your help or support. You’ll probably be surprised that it’s something pretty simple.”

Kim Schworm Acosta is the managing editor of Oral Care and Health Daily.


Available at

Transforming Stress: The Heartmath Solution For Relieving Worry, Fatigue, And Tension

No More Digestive Problems








Health - Relieve Stress in 5 Minutes or Less