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.