November 4, 2020
It’s no secret that COVID-19 is continuing to negatively impact people’s lives on a daily basis. Whether it is losing a job, experiencing financial hardship, dealing with symptoms associated with the virus, or the stress of what is to come, it is safe to say this global pandemic is wreaking far more havoc than originally thought. If the added anxiety and worry is causing you pain in your oral and facial structures, it may be that you are grinding and clenching your teeth – a common problem experienced by both children and adults. A local dentist explains how stress can negatively impact your smile and what you can do to avoid further damage.
COVID-19 and Teeth Grinding: What’s the Connection?
Since January 2020, COVID-19 has become one of, if not, the most popular term used this year. Its rapid spread throughout the globe has caused businesses to shut down, employees to be let go, and children to engage in virtual schooling. Not to mention, each time you enter into a public setting, everyone is wearing a face mask. The stress of the times is negatively impacting all areas of daily life, one of which is oral health.
Many dentists these days are seeing patients with broken teeth more commonly than before. Why? There are a few potential reasons, some of which include:
- Stress: This is likely going to get most of the blame simply because it’s most often the culprit. When you become stressed, you may consciously or subconsciously begin to grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Whether you are fearful of catching COVID-19, having nightmares, or spending all your free time reading every news bit about the virus, it can accumulate and cause you to significantly damage your teeth.
- Poor Posture: With so many people working from home nowadays, kitchen tables, sofas, and even beds are becoming workstations. As a result, you may find yourself hunched over for most of the day. When the body is continually curved and less movement occurs throughout the day, it may become more evident than ever when you try to go to bed at night how stiff and sore your joints and muscles may be. This can lead to increased grinding and clenching while asleep.
- Lack of Sleep: If getting through the daytime isn’t hard enough, you may be like so many others who are unable to achieve adequate sleep at night. When insomnia or frequent interruptions occur regularly, you’ll wake unable to function at an optimal level. Over time, this causes added stress and further teeth grinding and jaw clenching when you can rest.
How Can a Dentist Help?
While your dentist in Windsor can’t take away COVID-19, they can help minimize the damage caused by bruxism (teeth grinding). A few helpful tips to remember during this time include:
- Continue to keep your regular dental checkup and cleaning appointments. Although the virus may have you uncertain about your safety, trust that your dentist is implementing all the necessary protocols to better protect you during your visit.
- Inquire about a custom-made nightguard. Your dentist can have one created to comfortably fit your mouth and safeguard your smile from further damage.
- Find ways to relax. Whether it is a warm Epsom salt bath, going for a run, reading a book, or talking to a mental health counselor, finding ways to lower your stress levels is imperative during this time.
You’re not alone if the stress of COVID-19 is taking its toll on your oral health. Speaking to your dental professional about a customized nightguard will help safeguard your smile as we all navigate these uncertain times.
About the Practice
At Day Hill Dental, our office consists of five dentists and a qualified team who are dedicated to providing optimal dental care even amid the current global crisis. Implementing additional health and safety protocols for both patients and staff, we understand the pandemic is causing additional stress in people’s lives, all of which are negatively impacting their oral health. When teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism) pose a concern, we can provide helpful solutions to minimize potential damage and improve smiles. If you are living with the stress of COVID-19 as well as pain within your oral cavity and facial structures, contact us at (860) 688-5595.
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