Stress-induced teeth grinding and pandemic related dental problems are on the rise and affecting oral health. Many dentists are seeing an uptick in patient cases involving teeth pain, sensitivity and fractures associated with bruxism as well as an increase in tooth decay, cavities and gum disease due to delayed dental care. Three Rivers Dental Group is here to help with 24-hour online scheduling, same day appointments and sedation dentistry to comfort patients, relieve dental pain and pandemic related dental problems. Learn more about the effect pandemic stress has on oral health and what you can do to prevent tooth fracture, decay and dental damage.
With an unprecedented number of Americans addressing financial and health concerns while working from home and taking over the responsibility of homeschooling children, stress-induced tension and pandemic-related anxiety has increased. The New York Times reports these stress factors are contributing to dental complications including jaw and teeth pain, worn down tooth enamel, sensitivity and fractures often requiring emergency care. Stress-induced bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is the leading contributing factor. In fact, a majority of dentists have seen a rise in stress-related oral health issues in their patients since the onset of the pandemic, according to the ADA Health Policy Institute’s COVID-19 impact poll.
Delay of regular dental care during the pandemic is the second leading factor of oral health complications. Dentists were not able to see patients at the beginning of the pandemic unless they required emergency dental care. Many dentists are now seeing a rise in cases of patients experiencing gum disease, tooth decay and cavities caused by the delay of regular dental checkups and wearing masks and face coverings for extended periods of time.
People tend to breathe from the mouth when wearing masks and face coverings. This behavior can lead to bad breath, gum inflammation, tooth decay, mouth dryness and COVID cavities, according to dental experts. Combat dry mouth and cavities, by drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day, chewing a dentist recommended sugar-free gum to increase saliva production, brushing and flossing teeth twice daily and visiting the dentist for regular check-ups and dental cleanings. Patients with several fillings or crowns who have delayed their regular dental checkup due to the pandemic are encouraged to schedule a dental appointment to avoid tooth decay or infection.
To combat teeth grinding, look into a nightguard to address constant jaw clenching and ask your dentist about recommended options with barriers to absorb and disperse pressure. Improvements in ergonomics, body posture and the practice of mindfulness can also reduce the temptation to grind teeth. Being mindful of mouth position is most important of all. Unless you are actively eating and chewing food, teeth should never touch. Allow the jaw to relax, with a bit of space between teeth when lips are closed for proper alignment. If you catch yourself grinding, stop immediately.
Teeth grinding and dental damage caused by a delay in dental care can often lead to the need for immediate attention or an emergency dental visit. If pain, sensitivity and discomfort is present and persistent, contact Three Rivers Dental Group by calling 1-855-NO-FEARS or schedule an appointment online to get immediate dental pain relief with 24-hour online scheduling. We offer sleep dentistry and can see you the same day. We are conveniently located throughout the Pittsburgh area in Greentree, Cranberry, Greensburg, and Jennerstown.