Covid has wreaked havoc on our bodies in many ways even if you didn’t actually have the virus! Being at home close to snack sources all day long, experiencing increased stress, having reduced access to dental appointments and dealing with the many changes to our social structures have also affected dental and overall health in many ways.
If you haven’t figured it out over the past year of living in a pandemic, all of that stress can have some unwanted dental side effects. For instance:
Increased Tooth Decay—Stress eating is real. A lot of us let good dietary choices go by the wayside and indulged in comfort foods (or drinks). And if you didn’t have a great oral hygiene routine already, this change just jump-started your path to cavities.
Clenching and Grinding (Bruxism)—Stress is one of the main causes of teeth grinding, which compromises tooth enamel and dental work.
TMJ Disorder—Jaw pain and limited range of motion is often side-effect of stress-induced bruxism. Neck, shoulder, and back pain may also be a problem.
Migraine Headaches—Tension headaches can be caused by both stress as well as overexertion of jaw muscles, often due to teeth clenching.
You Can’t Get Rid of Stress, But…
- You can take steps to protect your mouth (and jaw) against it. Such as wearing a nightguard or bite splint. These dental appliances reduce tension in your TMJ caused by stress-induced teeth clenching.
- You can start to floss each day. Cleaning in-between is crucial when it comes to preventing cavities.
- You can drink more water. Water is a natural cleanser and it helps reduce plaque and acid levels between meals.
On top of that, it’s helpful to remember to keep yourself and your family on a regular schedule for dental checkups to evaluate the health of the teeth and gums and for maintenance of existing dental work. That way if anything is starting to flare up, we can intercept it escalates into something more involved to fix.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan has specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. We have the ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs as we have treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.