Being a student involves going to school almost every day, and spending about nine hours listening to lectures, writing notes, taking exams, reporting, project-making, and dealing with people around you.
There is so much to do and so little time as you spend almost half of your day being a student and, probably, the other half is utilized to recuperate after a ‘long day in school to prepare for another day in school.
If being a regular student occupies a lot of your time, imagine being an athlete on top of your school requirements! Aside from home works, exams, and reports, you will have to go on practices, work out, and compete in games usually after school.
It can be draining — physically and mentally. A student-athlete can spend the night before school studying for a History exam, completing research in Science, and juggling a group project. While in school, he or she is occupied in listening to lectures, participating in classes, and doing tasks for other subjects.
When the bell rings to announce the end of the day, a student-athlete brings his or her school bag down to hold a ball, racket, or go for a run this time. And all these activities can lead to insufficient time to enjoy other things or even just sleep.
Additionally, student-athletes are also under constant pressure to perform well in games and competitions without letting their school performance plummet.
The exhausting physical and mental activities, as well as, the pressure can stress students. Stress is a response to threat and pressure which does not only affect student-athletes but all people from different walks of life.
When we are stressed, our body undergoes a chemical reaction which increases our heart rate, accelerates breathing, raises blood pressure, and tightens our muscles. Agitation, mood swings, frustration, depression, low self-esteem, among others are indications of stress. Increased use of alcohol, drugs, and cigarette use can also be signs of stress.
Physically, stressed individuals can experience headaches, chest pain, insomnia, tensed muscles, low energy level, rapid heartbeat, and upset stomach.
Aside from mental, behavioral, and the physical indications mentioned above, stress is also bad news for the oral health as it can cause dry mouth, teeth grinding, and clenched jaw.
When the mouth lacks moisture, it can result to a dry mouth which increases the likelihood of oral infections, tooth decay, periodontal diseases as saliva flow which is vital to combat the naturally-occurring oral bacteria is insufficient.
Stress also weakens the immune system which lowers its capability to fight off bacteria and infections. When the immune system is weak, canker and cold sores can appear, and gum disease can develop.
As student-athletes, it is inevitable to have a full schedule since they are expected to perform dual roles of being a student and athlete with the expectation to do well in both roles. Time management can help in dealing with stress by allotting time for recreation and sleep.
Despite the need to perform well, the body and mind need to recuperate to function well and increase productivity.
If stress has already affected your oral health, visit your dentist for treatment. Since stress can cause grinding and clenching of teeth, you may request for a mouthguard to wear while you are sleeping to prevent damage to teeth. Mouthguards are also necessary for contact sports as protection against unwarranted oral injury.