February 2nd, 2016
Do you have a pet? Well, good news! Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that pet dogs can decrease stress levels in children, which can have a positive impact on oral health as well. If you're looking for something to add to your family wishlist, make sure to include "cute puppies!"
How can dogs can improve our health?
They may help reduce social anxiety
Pets such as dogs follow human communication cues and help spark conversation. They also provide comfort and self-esteem to children, which can lead to emotional development. Through animal-assisted therapy (AAT), dogs improve attachment and decrease separation anxiety in children. This can result in improved mental health and decreased risk of developmental disorders (emotional, behavioral, and mental) during adolescence and later on.
They may decrease stress
According to a study conducted by researchers from Bassett Medical Center in New York, 21% of children who did not have pet dogs had anxiety, while only 12% of the children who interacted with dogs at home were tested positive for anxiety. Playing with dogs can reduce cortisol levels and release oxytocin, which helps decrease physiologic responses to stress.
How does stress affect oral health, you ask?
- Stress is linked to canker sores, grinding of teeth, poor hygiene, dryness, TMJ, gum disease, and burning mouth syndrome.
- It can result in chronically high cortisol levels, which can lead to a weaker immune system. This can make it more likely for plaque bacteria to attack the gums.
- There is a strong connection between stress and periodontal or gum disease, which can cause tooth loss.
- You may not brush or floss as frequently!
Make sure to take care of your teeth properly and don't get too stressed out. Get a pet dog for bonus points!
Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment and consultation.
Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Van. Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.