The British Dental Health Foundation recently pointed out that children sitting SATs, GCSEs and A-levels could be at increased risk of dental decay. This is based on a recent study that assessed the oral health of a group of students, before, during and after their exams. Students who found the exams particularly stressful were found to have higher levels of tooth decay compared to those students who found exams less stressful. Apparently female students are more at risk than male students, and 18-year-olds are nearly twice as likely to develop tooth decay compared to 22-year-olds.
Good Dental Care Only Takes A Few Minutes Each Day
The research is interesting because there is plenty of information on how to reduce stress levels during exam time, but there’s very little on anything related to oral health. Anyone facing exams is likely to be studying hard, and it can be tempting to skip brushing and flossing each day. However it’s worth remembering this just takes a couple of minutes, and using good quality fluoride toothpaste will help protect the teeth against tooth decay. Just as importantly, keeping a clean healthy mouth also lessens the chances of catching other bugs which could hamper efforts to complete exams successfully. Lots of students choose to snack during revision and it’s quite common to pick sugary snacks and drinks to help give an extra burst of energy.
The Problem with Sugary Snacks
Sugar isn’t a particularly good choice as it only provides a short-term burst of energy and the effects quickly wear off. Consuming foods that give a longer and more sustained energy release could be more effective for concentration, and will obviously help oral health. The problem with snacking on sugary foods over a long period of time is that the teeth will come under acid attack for longer. Every time something sugary is eaten the plaque bacteria in the mouth get to work on the leftovers, producing acid as a by-product. This acid attacks the teeth and gums for up to an hour afterwards before the effects are gradually neutralised by saliva.
If this sounds like your kids then you can help them by trying to steer them in the direction of healthier snacks such as cheese and fruits and vegetables that are high in water or you can buy them some sugar-free gum to chew after eating something sweet. This helps to stimulate the flow of saliva, reducing the time taken to neutralise the acids in the mouth.
Great Dental Care Helps a Lot
Of course having great dental care helps a lot, and we hope you’re already regular visitors to Leeds City Dentalcare. If we’ve seen your children since they were young then we may have already recommended dental sealants to help protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth against decay. Regular check-ups with Dr David Brown or any of our other dentist in Leeds will help ensure these dental sealants remain in good condition as they do need renewing periodically. Visiting our Leeds surgery will also help ensure that any early signs of dental decay are picked up quickly and can be treated before they cause any problems. Fluoride treatments can help to halt the progression of cavities, and if any dental fillings are required then hopefully they’ll be pretty small.