How COVID-19 Has Impacted Oral Health

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It’s been almost 12 months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. This pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, including our physical and mental health, even for those of us who did not get the virus. Our Fuquay Varina dentist wanted to share how COVID-19 has impacted oral health in particular.

Decreased Preventative Dental Care During COVID-19

The main impact we have seen with how COVID-19 has affected dental health is the national decrease in preventative care. As people have tried to limit activities, minimize interactions, and reduce outings, they have cancelled or delayed receiving their bi-annual checkups and cleanings.  These are necessary to minimizing tartar and spotting problems, including the beginnings of cavities and gum disease. Additionally, studies from the ADA found that people were treating dental issues at home, such as using over-the-counter dental repair kits, rather than seeing the doctor.

It’s important to note that dental visits are very safe with minimal risk of transmission of COVID-19, and the ADA recommends maintaining your dental preventative care. Fortunately, as rates of infection decrease and vaccination rates increase, we can expect to see a return to normal numbers related to people receiving proper dental care. If you are putting off dental care, you can feel confident knowing that dentists nationwide, including our Fuquay dentistry center, are taking all the precautions to ensure safety.

Increased Evidence of Weakened Enamel Due to Sugar Intake

Stress, working from home, staying in more often, trying new hobbies like baking – many of us turned to comfort foods, and this led to a major increase in our sugar intake. While many people lamented weight gain, the bigger concern from a dental perspective was what this increase in sugar was doing to tooth enamel. Sugar sits on the teeth, feeding bacteria in the mouth which produces an acidic substance that eats away at enamel. Dentists have seen an increase in demineralized (weakened) enamel, and increased sugar intake can be a factor.

If you have found yourself reaching for more sugary snacks as a comfort, try replacing these with sugar-free gum, flavored seltzer, or even chocolate, which rinses away more easily and doesn’t rest on the teeth like chewy candies and starches do.

Stress-Related Bruxism Increase

It’s no secret that this pandemic has led to an increase in stress for most of us – working from home, virtual school, financial worries, and the sheer fear of getting sick. This worry takes a toll, and for many people, the stress leads to bruxism, or, teeth grinding. Chronic teeth grinding can lead to cracked or worn teeth, and, according to studies both at Tel Aviv University and UCLA, there has been a marked increase in this problem.

If you have been struggling with teeth grinding and stress, consider exercising before bed, minimizing caffeine, and, most importantly, talking to your dentist. Getting fitted for a mouth guard can protect your teeth and minimize damage, headaches, and jaw pain.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Fuquay Varina Dentist

At our Fuquay Varina dentist office, we’re taking all precautions to keep you and our team safe and healthy. If you’re due for a cleaning or check up or you’ve been experiencing teeth grinding, dry mouth, or other concerns, schedule an appointment with us by filling out the form below or calling (919) 552-2431 to speak with a member of our team.