Stressed Kids Have Stressed Mouths
- Posted on: Jun 15 2018
Once we get passed childhood, it is relatively easy to look back and observe the events of life as “not that bad.” The demands of adulthood may be greater than what we had as children – we’ve got bills to pay and jobs to maintain and families to raise – but that doesn’t mean that we should negate the amount of stress the average child may feel today. There are numerous situations that children go through that may cause them to shoulder the excess emotional burden. When they do, their oral health may suffer.
How Stress May Affect a Child’s Oral Health
There are a few ways in particular that a child’s response to stressors may negatively affect oral health. These include:
- Children who are feeling stressed may reach for “comfort foods” that contain higher amounts of sugar.
- Stress changes the chemical balance in the body and may alter the composition of saliva. This diminishes the dilution of sugars and acids in the mouth.
- If stress is affecting the family unit, there may be an unintentional break from seeing the dentist.
- Anxiety may cause children to engage in unhealthy habits such as thumb-sucking or biting on hard objects.
Is Your Child Stressed?
It is easy for parents and caretakers to overlook signs that a child is under a lot of pressure. Furthermore, children may try to keep their uneasy feelings to themselves, thinking that they must keep their chin up even when struggling. We’ve sometimes got to remind ourselves to be on the lookout for children’s well-being; and not just young children, teenagers too. If a child exhibits moodiness or excessive fatigue, stomachaches or headaches, these are signs that communication and stress management are needed.
Protection Comes in Many Forms
Protecting children from unnecessary stress may require a watchful eye, but not much more. An open heart and non-judgmental communication can go a long way in helping children of all ages work through their stressors. Encouragement toward healthy habits even in times of stress can prevent dental and health problems that would compound that stress.
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Posted in: Pediatric Dentistry