Dentists have seen a spike in tooth trauma since Covid-19. While the virus doesn’t directly affect your teeth, it’s significantly impacted all our lives, both mentally and physically—and our teeth are no exception.


Here are some unexpected ways covid could be harming your teeth.


Increased stress


It’s only natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief and worry during a worldwide pandemic. But if we don’t take care of our mental health, we’ll start to see its impact on our physical health too, including our teeth.


Stress and anxiety often cause us to clench our jaws and grind our teeth, also known as Bruxism. Bruxism wears down your teeth, and if left unchecked, can cause irreversible damage. Unfortunately, there is a point of no return. Teeth get more sensitive the further in, so the rate of wearing down accelerates. 


Jaw clenching and teeth grinding can also cause:

  • Headaches 
  • Jaw pain
  • Wearing down your teeth
  • Painful teeth
  • Cracked, damaged, and fractured teeth
  • Breakage of fillings and crowns

If you find yourself grinding your teeth, it’s important to do something about it. Practising stress-reduction techniques can help, but if it continues, see your dentist about mouth guards and splints to protect your teeth while you sleep.


Poor sleep


Increased stress from Covid has also affected our sleeping patterns. Many of us aren’t getting enough quality sleep, which impacts our dental health.


Sleep helps our physical body recover. When we aren’t getting the restorative sleep we need, we leave ourselves vulnerable to various gum infections.


There are also links between sleep and inflammation. When we lose sleep, our immune system gets out of whack, which can lead to increased inflammation in your gums. This can increase the risk of gum disease, which can cause tooth loss and severe dental complications if left untreated.


Poor sleep is a major public health concern, affecting so much more than dental health. If you are getting poor sleep you can:

  • Use stress-reduction techniques
  • Keep to a sleep schedule
  • Improve your sleeping environment
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • See a sleep disorder professional

 

Working from home 


Another unexpected way Covid might be harming your teeth is by working from home. Lockdowns have sent many of us into this new working environment, and for those without the right desk setup, it’s led to working in awkward body positions.


Poor posture impacts dental health. Hunching and slouching changes your jaw alignment, putting pressure on jaw joints and muscles. This can cause:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Chronic facial pain (TMD)
  • Lower jaw pain
  • Headaches

Setting your desk up to encourage good posture can help, like placing your screen at eye level. However, poor posture can be an ingrained habit and may not be as simple as ‘sitting up straight’. Visit your physiotherapist or chiropractor if you have ongoing issues.


It’s important now, more than ever, to look after yourself. Reducing stress, improving sleep quality and adjusting your working environment can help get your oral health back on track. 


The friendly team at Australia Fair Dental Care can help with teeth grinding issues and assist you in finding the right solutions for your oral health. Contact us if you’d like to book an appointment.