The pandemic has upended our lives in innumerable ways, and impacted everything from our social interactions to how often we even leave the house. One area where these impacts are clear is the health of our smiles. From stress-related bruxism to snacking-related cavities, there are a number of ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has harmed our smiles. In today’s blog, your Richardson, TX, dentist will talk about these complications, and how we can help!
One major issue that the pandemic has caused is increased levels of stress. When we have higher-than-normal levels of anxiety, this could lead to moodiness, sleep difficulties, and even leads to serious oral health issues, such as TMJ disorder and bruxism, which we will discuss in greater detail in the next section. High stress levels could also lead to dry mouth, which in turn makes the risk of cavities and periodontal issues higher. For some, the interruptions to our normal routine may have made you lax in your brushing and flossing habits, and your concerns about catching or spreading COVID-19 could also mean skipped checkup and cleaning visits. Lack of care both at home and in our office could again cause a greater risk of cavities, gum disease, and other issues that lead to disorder and for some, a risk of tooth loss!
To help manage your anxiety, we have a few tips. First, try to maintain a routine schedule (and that includes brushing and flossing your teeth). Try to limit your news intake, so you stay informed without doom scrolling on social media. Find ways to exercise and improve your diet, both of which have been shown to lift moods. Try to find hobbies and activities that let you stay socially distant, but keep you engaged. Be sure to maintain a good sleep schedule, consider stretching and meditation.
Bruxism and TMD
Bruxism is a disorder in which we grind our teeth and clench them nightly. TMJ disorder means that strain on your jaw joints is causing painful symptoms and could eventually lead to issues opening and closing your mouth. While both could be caused by a number of issues linked to poor bite balance and jaw joint strain, higher-then-normal stress levels could also be a factor. Over time, these disorders could lead to painful headaches, migraines, jaw and facial pain, and tooth sensitivity and toothaches. The damage from grinding and clenching could also lead to cracked, chipped, or worn-down teeth. Cavities and infection form, and cause not only pain, but the risk of tooth loss too. While reducing stress is definitely helpful, we could also assist with an oral appliance, Custom made and fitted for your smile, the appliance is worn as you sleep and repositions the jaw joints to ease strain, and puts a barrier between the upper and lower teeth to prevent further damage., Our team also has single visit dental bonding, or even custom-made crowns, to repair any damage your smile has sustained due to these jaw joint problems.
Snacking and Tooth Decay
With the anxiety of the buildup, adults have been drinking more alcohol than normal, and kids and adults alike have been snacking more. Well, many alcoholic beverages have high sugar and starch content, and the snacks we tend to choose, such as candy and chips, are also high in sugar and starch. That means particles are left behind that harmful oral bacteria love to consume too. As they break down these particles, they elevate oral acidity and coat the teeth in plaque, weakening enamel and inflaming gum tissues. Smiles of all ages are now more likely to develop tooth decay, as well as gingivitis and gum disease. We suggest chewing sugar-free gum to curb snacking, drinking more water to keep you hydrated and cleanse your smile, and enjoying healthier snack options, such as fruit, veggies, cheeses, low-fat yogurt, nuts, and whole grain crackers. While sugary/starchy snacks, alcoholic beverages, sport beverages, energy drinks, and sodas can be enjoyed in moderation, too much could put your smile at risk!
Lack of Six-Month Visits
People tend to underestimate the value of a checkup and cleaning. A checkup is a chance for our team to use advanced digital x-rays and scanning technology to examine the smiles for signs of cavities and other common oral health issues. We then offer treatment before you develop discomfort or oral health complications. Our team also cleans the teeth, a process that involves removing all harmful plaque and tartar buildup with an ultrasonic scaling device and a manual tool so you enjoy brighter teeth, fresher breath, and a reduced risk of cavities and periodontal disease. If you haven’t made time to seen us for these visits, we suggest making one for you and your family now! We offer care for babies, toddlers, kids, and adults. Maintaining good oral health keeps your smile strong, and helps safeguard you against serious oral health issues.
Our COVID-19 Safeguards
Our team will continue to maintain the same strict health and safety measures we have since the pandemic began. We take the health of our patients and team members very seriously, and have implemented new technologies and made major changes to our office protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our entire team will continue to wear masks, gloves, face shields, and gowns, and we employ special rinses and also technology to regularly clean the air and surfaces throughout the office several times a day. If you have any questions about our protocols, or if you would like to schedule a visit or talk about better oral health habits, then contact our team today.
Your Richardson, TX, Dentist Offers Family Dentistry
We know that the added pressures of the pandemic could lead to issues for your smile, and we want to help! For more information on how you and your family can keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy from home, then please schedule a consultation by calling the Viva Dental Family Dentistry office nearest you at (214) 337-7800 (Dallas) or (972) 437-6000 (Richardson). We’re still following strict health and safety measures to keep you and your family safe when you visit us for treatment!