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Preventative Dentistry

These are Times that Stress Kids’ Mouths

Teenager Eating Junk FoodWhat does a student facing exam pressure have in common with a World War I soldier—or an 18th-Century British sailor? More than you might think.

Kids surviving on junk food and stress are at risk of two retro tooth-and-gum woes: trench mouth and scurvy.

Trench Mouth (named for the soldiers) is better known today as ANUG, or Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis. While it’s similar to periodontal disease, what sets ANUG apart is its immediate onset. Suddenly the mouth is sore, gums bleed easily, and…bad breath! ANUG often strikes students during particularly stressful periods, like exam time.

A stress triad believed to contribute to this painful condition includes lowered resistance due to lack of sleep and good diet, poor oral hygiene, stress.

Likewise, poor eating habits account for the emergence of that ancient curse of English sailors—scurvy. It’s characterized by swollen, bleeding gums, loosened teeth, anemia. It’s one of the most serious diseases affecting teenagers today.

Scurvy is vitamin C deficiency. As famous sea captain James Cook discovered, it can be prevented by fresh citrus: oranges, grapefruits, limes (why British sailors used to be called “limeys”).

School can be both a battle and a voyage. But student mouths don’t have to suffer for it.

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