Stress in Children & Oral Health

boy struggling with his homework, holding his hands in his hair

Stress is a common problem and much discussion can be had about its effect on our overall health. This is because in today’s society we experience many demands due to work, money, family, etc. Stress, however, is not something that only adults deal with. We may think of childhood as a time-of-life that is carefree and fun but this is not always the case.

Children deal with many things that cause them stress: school, family conflict, peers, academic pressures, and more. Oral health needs to be a concern if you have a child who is dealing with stress. Young years are critical years for the formation of teeth. Eating habits that include an excess of sugary foods will mean a high rate of decay. Stress can also cause a child to revert back to coping mechanisms such as thumb sucking. Bad habits due to stress can often compromise developing dentition.

Signs that your child is stressed:

– Moodiness
– Lying
– Headaches and stomach aches
– Sleeping more or less than usual
– Abandoning friendships
– Regressive habits
– A change in eating habits
– Bullying and defiance

If you believe that your child is dealing with stress, don’t ignore it. Talk to him or her about the causes of the stress along with these other tips for managing stress:

  •  – Encourage a healthy diet and adequate sleep
  •  – Spend time with your child daily
  •  – Don’t neglect wellness check-ups with your doctor and dentist
  •  – Encourage them to keep a journal
  •  – Seek help from a school counselor or mental health professional if needed

When acknowledged and addressed, stress can be controlled. Make sure you stay on top of stress with the tips outlined here and on top of proper oral hygiene: brushing and flossing every day and regular dentist checkups.