Stress Sometimes Means Poor Dental Health for Students

November 10, 2010 at 2:26 PM Leave a comment

The stress caused by studying too hard can cause gum inflammation, bruxism, and the possibility of TMJ disorder symptoms. Emotional and physical factors involved in studying for exams or writing papers often force students to abandon good dental health regimens.

During exam weeks, or when term papers are due, many students pull all-nighters. Some get less sleep all the time, while others increase caffeine and nicotine or don’t eat as healthy as they should. The result is that saliva flow decreases and leaves teeth less protected.

Students may not make regular trips to the dentists because they have gone away to school and have not developed a relationship with dentists at their schools. Plus, many students think they are impervious to health issues and believe they can deal with anything on their own terms. They also don’t believe they are susceptible to stress.

Academic stress can also take its toll on the gums. Gums can become red, swollen, tender, and bleed easily. Some students will develop severe gingivitis, and frequently it will subside with regular dental care.
However, stress reduction, exercise, a balanced diet, and plenty of rest can alleviate the effects of stress on the gums.

Some students may even grind their teeth in times of stress. Often, a student’s roommate detects it because he or she can be kept up at night by someone who is grinding their teeth. Dentists can make appliances to lessen the damage caused by bruxism, or the strategies mentioned above can work as well.

TMJ disorder can cause earaches without infection, sore jaw muscles (especially in the morning), a clicking sound, difficulty when opening or closing the mouth, or locked or stiff jaw when talking, eating, or yawning.

Fortunately, cramming for exams and papers while ignoring oral hygiene is generally not a long-term behavior. After exams, students should try to return to a normal oral hygiene regimen and schedule a dental cleaning.

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Entry filed under: Dental, Dental Health, dentist, dentistry, pain control, Simi Valley, Teeth. Tags: , , , , .

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