Has COVID-19 left you feeling stressed, uncertain, and fearful? Are you noticing a difference in your overall health? Are you experiencing problems with cracked teeth or other common dental problems? You’re not alone. Many dental professionals are noticing an increase in chipped, broken, and damaged smiles as a result of the pandemic. If you are one of the many who is suffering and wants to know what you can do to protect your teeth and gums during this time, read on.
The Reasons for Cracked Teeth Amid COVID-19
While the COVID-19 virus attacks the respiratory system, the societal changes that are occurring as a result of a global pandemic are taking a significant toll on people’s oral and overall health. Not only have work and school become increasingly difficult to maneuver because of minimal interaction between colleagues, friends, and teachers, but additional factors are making day-to-day life more challenging.
So, what are the reasons dentists are seeing more cases of cracked and damaged teeth? Here are a few likely culprits:
- Increased Stress: No matter the channel or TV show, face masks and discussions about COVID-19 are everywhere. From the rise in vaccinations to the continued number of hospitalizations and death, having this information continuously discussed can take a toll. Not to mention the stress of working from home while trying to oversee your child’s virtual schooling.
- Worsening Posture: Because you are no longer working in an office and using a computer chair, you may now be viewing your bed, couch, or kitchen table as your new workspace. As a result, you’re likely not maintaining good posture, which can cause soreness and tension throughout your back, neck, and shoulders. If this pain carries with you throughout the day and into the night, you may discover that you are beginning to grind or clench your teeth while you sleep.
- Poor Sleep Quality: The stress of life may be causing you to experience insomnia or simply be unable to achieve a full night’s rest. This can lead to chronic fatigue, poor nutrition, and problematic oral health issues like bruxism (teeth grinding). This can eventually cause your tooth enamel to wear down and your jaw to become increasingly sore.
Ways to Keep Your Teeth Better Protected
Attempting to safeguard your smile may not seem easy, but there are things you can do to minimize damage and get your teeth and gums back on the right track, such as:
You should also:
- Maintaining good oral hygiene at home. This means brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing at least once before bed, and rinsing with an ADA-approved mouthwash.
- Stopping the use of tobacco products and smoking.
- Inquiring about a customized mouthguard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
- Finding ways to reduce your stress by talking to a licensed counselor, meditation, exercising, or taking a long Epsom salt bath.
No matter the steps you need to take to ensure your oral health, make sure you are listening to the advice of your dentist who is your ally in the fight against damaged and decayed smiles.
About the Author
Dr. Tim Vacek is an advocate for preventive care. The struggles brought on by COVID-19 have become evident in people’s oral and overall health. Whether it is poor oral health caused by neglect or damaged teeth as a result of stress and the inability to sleep, Dr. Vacek and his team at Amberly Dental are here to help. Contact us at (402) 786-2007 to learn what we can do to improve the current state and future of your smile.