Experts have advised that maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a sensible investment as it can help to reduce the cost of private dentistry in the future.
Dr David Cochran, chair of the department of periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Centre, is concerned that many people are stressed about the global financial downturn and that this can lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits.
He revealed: "Stress may lead an individual to abuse tobacco or alcohol, and to possibly even neglect his or her oral hygiene.
"These lifestyle choices are known risk factors for the development of periodontal disease, which has been connected to several other chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes."
Dr Cochran cited a recent study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, which found that 56 per cent of people admitted that stress led them to neglect their usual dental hygiene regime.
The expert said that people should do regular exercise, eat healthily and ensure they get enough sleep to combat high stress levels.
"Doing so can help maintain a healthy mouth and potentially help ward off other negative health concerns," he added.
According to cosmetic dentists at the Perfect Smile Studios & Academy, stress is also known to contribute to teeth grinding, which can cause irreversible damage to the teeth if not treated.