Kids’ Oral Health and Stress

Mother and daughter with dentist

Stress is a concern for people of all ages. Kids also face stress, whether it comes from the epidemic, school, societal demands, or other changes in their lives. And did you know that stress may affect your child’s dental health in addition to the behavioral problems, changes in appetite, and lack of sleep that you might anticipate it to cause? We will discuss how stress may impact the mouth and teeth in this post, as well as strategies for managing it, to help your child maintain excellent oral health.

Oral health and stress

You can see that stress may result in a variety of behavioral, emotional, and physical problems. The stress-related issues we run across as pediatric dentists in Children Dental Center Indianapolis IN manifest themselves in your child’s mouth.

The following are some of the most typical ways that stress can harm children’s dental health:

Grinding of teeth

Teeth grinding is pretty typical in children. It’s not necessarily a problem in very young children because many outgrow it by age 6 or so. The medical word for chronic teeth grinding or clenching is bruxism, and if your child is older than six and the practice still exists, they may have it.

Although there isn’t a single, well-established cause of teeth grinding, stress might be a significant impact. Kids’ grinding frequently grows worse when they are worried. Parents occasionally inquire as to whether stress might cause tooth pain. The answer is yes, and one of the primary causes of this is teeth grinding. Due to the pressures from teeth grinding at night, children may experience painful teeth, aching jaw, and headaches when they wake up.

Chronic teeth grinding can cause headaches, sore mouths, loss of tooth enamel, gum recession, cracked, chipped, or broken teeth, and dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It’s a good idea to discuss the issue with your child’s pediatric dentist at Childrens Dentist Indianapolis IN to learn how to reduce teeth grinding caused by stress. We may advise your child to use a night guard while sleeping if their bruxism is causing them discomfort or harm to their teeth.

The dental appliance shields the teeth from those pressures of grinding by fitting over them like a mouthguard. Additional measures, such as practicing relaxation methods or speaking with a therapist, may also be beneficial, depending on your child’s circumstances and requirements.

Jaw Pain and TMJ illness

Does tension lead to jaw pain? Oh, yes. Stress-related jaw tension or clenching, like the previously discussed teeth grinding, is frequent in children (and adults). The jaw and TMJ are under strain from both activities.

Therefore, if your youngster grinds their teeth during stressful situations, it might lead to jaw pain. It can eventually result in TMJ dysfunction or a TMJ condition by causing TMJ inflammation and TMJ degeneration.

Consultation with your child’s pediatric dentist at Kids Dentist Indianapolis IN is also necessary if you have persistent jaw discomfort from stress-related clenching, teeth grinding, or any other reason. A unique oral appliance might be created if your kid exhibits symptoms of a TMJ problem. The appliance keeps the jaw in a posture that relieves strain on the joints and promotes healing.

Mouth dryness

According to research published in the Journal of Dental Research, Dental Clinics, and Dental Prospects, stress, worry, and depression might decrease salivation and cause individuals to have dry mouth (xerostomia). Stress is probably going to have the same effects on kids.

Oral health is negatively impacted by dry mouth at any age. Saliva provides minerals that are redeposited into the enamel to replenish those that are lost to acid-caustic acids that cause cavities. Additionally, it aids in cleaning plaque and food particles that might otherwise adhere to the teeth. Children who have a dry mouth are more prone to tooth decay and gingivitis since there isn’t enough saliva to prevent either of these conditions.

Reduction in immune response

The immune system is weakened by too much stress. What connection does that make to how stress affects children’s dental health? Your kid will have more difficulty fighting off infections, such as gingivitis, which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue, and other conditions relating to dental health, as their immune response declines. Cold sore and canker sore breakouts are also associated, as we said previously, with a compromised immune system.

How parents can support children in managing stress and maintaining a healthy smile

Limit or try to stay away from stressors that make your youngster anxious, if at all feasible. Find out what’s troubling your child by having a conversation with them. Together, they should decide on coping strategies that are effective for them, whether they involve deep breathing, exercise, music, using a stress reliever, or sketching.

Give your children prior notice of any impending changes, such as relocating, finding a new babysitter, or starting a new school. Additionally, come up with ideas about how to ease the transition. Some of the anxiety that children frequently experience in the face of change is reduced when they know what to expect.

Display wholesome behaviors. Exercise, properly manage your stress, maintain a balanced diet, brush and floss your teeth in front of your child, and control your tension. Establish routines to develop virtuous behaviors. Encourage children to floss and brush their teeth at the same time every morning and night and have them go to bed at the same time every night to ensure they receive enough sleep. Until the habits are established, sticker charts and a temporary system of minor incentives might be beneficial.

Make an appointment with the school counselor or your child’s pediatrician. They can provide you with advice on how to manage your child’s stress and, if required, recommend you to a professional.

Maintain your child’s regular dental checkups and cleanings and be sure to inform your pediatric dentist at Pediatric Dentistry Indianapolis IN of any developments. Your child’s oral health will be evaluated by the dentist, who will also provide advice on how to keep stress from harming their teeth and gums. If a problem like a cavity does arise, early detection will make treatment simpler, less intrusive, and more economical.

Concerned about your child’s teeth and stress?

Make an appointment for your kid to see the dentist at Pediatric Dentist Indianapolis IN. To prevent dental issues brought on by stress and help them have the healthiest smile possible, our compassionate staff will reassure your kid and give them individualized treatment.