Exams can be stressful and no matter how much kids try to stay cool and calm, their health does get affected in more ways than one. While parents try their best to give them time to relax and take care of their nutrition, the oral health of their children is something that they hardly pay any attention to. The result? When most children stay up late to study and also indulge in midnight snacking they often end up with tooth and gum diseases or exam-related stress also causes them to  develop other oral health disorders. Her Zindagi talked to Dr. Gunita Singh and Dr. Tanvir Singh of Dentem, The Dental and Orthodontic Clinic and they had useful insights on how exam stress can affect oral health of students plus how to deal with it. On the occasion of World Oral Health Day, let's find out how we can also maintain excellent oral health with their expert tips.

Teeth Grinding

dental problems woman holding jaw

Image Courtesy: www.fourseasonsdentistry.com

One of the most common side effect of stress in young during exams is clenching your teeth at night. Teeth clenching, gnashing, grinding or grating, also known as Bruxism, can further lead to sleep disorders, headache, jaw pain and abnormal tooth wear.  To overcome this teeth guard or night guards are recommended to reduce the clenching. In fact, they put an end to it avoiding further damage to teeth. 

Health tip: Breathing exercises done for ten minutes in the morning and in evening are a wonderful solution to overcome STRESS.

Gum Diseases

Studies have shown that when the body is experiencing stress, its ability to manufacture immune cells to protect against bad microbes is compromised. Stress affects immune system negatively and allows bacteria to increase infection and inflammation in our oral cavity. One sitting of cleaning before exams helps kill all harmful bacteria in the oral cavity. This should be done when your kid is 15 years of age.                  

Health tip: Regular mouthwash and gum massage also do wonders. Remember to drink a lot of water.

TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

tmj disorder oral health

Image Courtesy: www.oakvillenorthdentistry.com

This is one of the major complaints of young adults. When the temporomandibular joint gets damaged for some reason, it causes localised pain. This joint can be damaged due to various reasons including teeth injury, jaw injury, teeth grinding, gum chewing, teeth or jaw misalignment, arthritis and also stress. “We at Dentem are attending to 1-2 teenagers every week who are walking in with severe pain. X-rays show no pathology but the patients complain of unbearable pain in the jaw. All these teenagers are appearing for exams and with our experience, we can conclude that 9 out of 10 such cases resolve soon after exams. Laser physiotherapy gives immediate relief to the patient”, say Dr. Gunita and Dr. Tanvir.

Health tip: Breathing exercises for 10 minutes in the morning and evening plus hot fomentation for 10 minutes in the morning and evening are recommended for the patient.

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Staining Of Teeth

stained and cleaned teeth

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Irregular eating or sleeping habits during exams leads to bad oral hygiene and staining of teeth. Coffee is a saviour in exams for the youth but actually, it is not. Caffeine in the short term can provide useful boost immediately but comes with lots of side effects, one of them being staining and erosion of the teeth. 

Health tip: Limiting the use of coffee and replacing it with green tea or sugar-free gums and drinking lots of water is the mantra for good oral health.

Oral Health Neglect

One of the first things kids do when being under stress of exams is neglect themselves. Due to this, they suffer from poor sleep so finally they are left with no energy for maintaining daily oral hygiene chores like brushing, flossing or using a mouth wash. Nutritional choices also get disturbed during exams. Stress always prompts us to take more sugary foods which can wreck one’s oral health. To avoid this, kids and parents should remember to keep their health above everything. For this, they should engage in proper time management to stay stress free and have proper diet so that they can maintain excellent oral health.

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