Your gums bleed when you brush your teeth.
Stress can lead to an increase in plaque build-up, found a Swedish study of female caregivers who had been diagnosed with stress-related depression and exhaustion
. And because the cortisol released in response to chronic stress suppresses the immune system, your gums are more prone to infection. To make matters worse, when you're in a frazzled state, you may be tempted to do only a quick pass of the teeth and skip the flossing—giving the gingivitis-causing plaque even more of an advantage. It takes only 48 hours for plaque to build up and cause inflammation in the gums, says Sally Cram, DDS, a Washington, DC, periodontist and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. Spending a few minutes brushing and flossing now can save you extra time at the dentist later.