Stress and Oral Hygiene


2020 has been a stressful year.COVID-19 is creating serious problems for families who may not have a secure source of income. Interestingly, the pandemic seems to also be causing a rise in dental issues, notably cracked tooth syndrome.

Dental Problems from Stress

During the COVID-19 quarantine, dentistry is one industry that hasn’t seen a major drop-off in volume. In fact, dentists have been busier than ever fixing microcracks in American teeth. According to one dentist who published her findings in the New York Times, she has treated more cracked teeth in the past six months than she has in any of the past six years.

This, she believes, is almost certainly related to economic pressures and the fear of living in an age of virulent disesase.

Cracked Tooth Syndrome

Cracked tooth syndrome is the generic name given to the constellation of symptoms one experiences when they have a microcrack in their teeth. These microcracks can be so small, that not even an X-ray would pick them up. Often, folks come into the dentist complaining only of sporadic tooth pain that seems to come and go. Depending on how advanced the crack, the tooth may require extraction. In other cases, a crown or filling may do the job.

COVID-19 and Cracked Teeth

Stress often leads to involuntary or semivoluntary nervous tics such as teeth grinding. Excessive teeth grinding, known as bruxism, can lead to cracked teeth. Additionally, colder weather and temperature changes leave teeth much more prone to cracking. Since more people than ever are working from home now, poor posture during the day can also result in teeth grinding at night.

Another major issue that stress leads to is sleep disorders and insomnia. Many Americans spent their summer tossing and turning worrying about whether or not they’d be able to pay their rent, mortgage, bills, and more. Insomnia leads to teeth grinding, which leads to cracked teeth.

Managing Stress-Related Dental Problems

While most Americans who recognize that their stress issues are harming them physically, often go see a doctor and get a referral to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist prescribes anti-anxiety meds and the patient works with a therapist to learn better ways of coping with stress. Often, this involves simple pleasures such as taking a relaxing bath before sleep.

On the dental side of things, your dentist can make you a mouthguard that’s form-fitted to your mouth that prevents the extensive damage caused by teeth grinding against one another. It also prevents microcracks that lead to cracked tooth syndrome.

Talk to a Flagstaff, AZ Dentist

If you’re suffering from stress, teeth grinding, or have a new pain in your mouth that you can’t identify, Peak Family Dental Care can help. A mouthguard can prevent you from grinding the enamel of your teeth and weakening it to the point of cracking. Call today to learn more about our services.

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