Pandemic-Related Stress May Be Affecting Oral Health

Noting that “reports of a huge spike in cracked teeth have received national media attention in recent days,” USA Today (9/11, Shannon) said some dentists say they are seeing signs the coronavirus pandemic may be affecting oral health in additional ways, with some observing that they are treating more patients with inflamed gums and in need of treatment than before the pandemic. Part of the reason for an upward trend in oral health problems may stem from the pandemic’s “ripple effect – another example of how the pandemic has altered daily lives and led to unexpected health problems.” Before the pandemic, “your day had a rhythm to it,” Dr. Matthew Messina, a spokesperson for the ADA, told USA TODAY. When that rhythm is interrupted, it can be easy to forget “simple little things like oral hygiene.” Another reason may stem from patients delaying dental visits due to concerns about the coronavirus. “While they can’t eliminate all risk, dentists across the nation are taking steps to minimize the chances of spreading the coronavirus,” the article said.

Concerning the uptick in fractured teeth that some dentists are observing amid the pandemic, Inside Edition (9/13) spoke with a dentist who “said the key is to reduce stress that causes the clenching and grinding, and one way to do is through exercise.” Wearing a mouth guard at night can also protect teeth, the dentist said.

Writing in the Washington Post (9/11), journalist Emily Sohn shared her experience with a cracked tooth and filling, noting her dentist “says she has seen a surge in problems related to tooth-grinding and jaw-clenching” since the pandemic began. Sohn shared information on the potential causes of bruxism and some possible solutions.

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