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Say 'Aaah' | Booster Shots

Gums Shrink Away From Financial Woes

July 19, 1999|MARNELL JAMESON

Were those champagne corks popping at the latest dental convention? Perhaps periodontists were celebrating their job security. Not only do these gum docs have demographics on their side--as the U.S. population grows older, more people develop gum disease--they also seem to have the economy working for them.

You've probably read that Americans are saving less and are deeper into debt than they have been in years. Now a study in the July issue of the Journal of Periodontology has found that high levels of financial stress can double your chance of developing gum disease. Talk about a vicious circle. Your periodontist tells you you have gum disease, then you get the bill--I can feel my gums receding at the very thought of it.

But the study also found that those who deal with their financial problems practically, by, say, working harder and spending less, fare as well as those who don't have money problems. It's those who avoid the problem and go shopping or on vacation to take their minds off things who take it in the teeth, so to speak.

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