When the Covid-19 crisis first impacted the United States last year, many businesses struggled to stay afloat. However, dental practices seemed to be busier than ever! Since the start of the pandemic, dentists from all around the world have reported an increase in cracked teeth and other oral health problems. Why is this happening? Read on as a dentist explains the top three reasons why cracked teeth are on the rise during Covid-19 and how you can safeguard your smile.
Heightened Anxiety Levels
Saying that we’re all stressed out during the pandemic is an understatement. Feeling worried initiates the body’s fight-or-flight response, which causes the muscles the tense up. Since the anxiety never really goes away, this constant tension can lead to unhealthy chewing habits. You might end up chewing on pens, pencils, ice, or your fingernails. High stress levels also contribute to bruxism, a condition where you grind your teeth in your sleep.
Both of these problems place excessive pressure on your teeth. Over time, this wears down the enamel and leaves them more susceptible to fractures. To protect your teeth, consider chewing sugar-free gum whenever you’re stressed. Also, talk to your loved ones or healthcare provider about ways to reduce anxiety.
Many people who have started working from home do not have areas of their homes designed to function as offices. Working on the couch or at the kitchen table doesn’t promote healthy posture. Bending down or slouching all day strains the muscles in the neck and jaw, which can cause or worsen nighttime teeth grinding.
The best way to combat bruxism is to ask your dentist about a custom nightguard. This comfortable tray fits over your teeth and prevents the top and bottom arches from making harmful contact during sleep.
It can also help to rearrange your workstation so that you’re not slouching. Make sure to get up periodically and walk around; this will stretch your muscles and encourage them to relax.
Stress-Eating and Aimless Snacking
Whether you’re stress-eating sweets or aimlessly snacking while stuck at home, quarantine has almost certainly altered your eating habits. Overindulging in sugary foods and drinks weakens your teeth, leaving them more vulnerable to decay and damage. To reduce your risk of cavities and cracked teeth, keep the number of unhealthy snacks in your home to a minimum. Also, drink lots of water throughout the day and brush your teeth every morning and night.
If you’ve been feeling anxious over the past year, you’re far from the only one. However, you shouldn’t let that stress harm your smile! Talk to your dentist for more tips for preventing cracked teeth in quarantine.
About the Practice
Here at Hulen Dental, families in the Fort Worth, TX community can receive care from three expert dentists with plenty of experience in maintaining healthy smiles. We offer a number of services designed to protect patients from the dangers of bruxism, including nightguards and dental restorations. To learn more about avoiding cracked teeth in quarantine, you can reach us by visiting our website or calling (817) 292-5957.