Although COVID-19 can have many implications for your health, it can also impact your teeth and gums. Research has currently linked complications of COVID-19—namely being admitted to intensive care, requiring ventilation, and death—to periodontal disease . However, the stress of the pandemic and a COVID-19 infection can have a greater impact on your dental health than you might think. Here’s what you need to know about the link between teeth damage and COVID-19.
Stress Can Increase Damage to Teeth
The pandemic has been an immensely stressful time for people. Research links increased stress with bruxism, or teeth grinding. In fact, research has long linked stress and anxiety to teeth grinding . If you grind your teeth while asleep, you may not be aware of it, but you may have a headache upon waking or a sore jaw or teeth.
Bruxism can cause major damage to teeth if left untreated. The pressure exerted during teeth grinding is greater than when you chew food, and can lead to fractured teeth, chips, worn- down teeth, and even loose teeth and gum inflammation. Stress management can be helpful for those whose bruxism is related to emotional stress and anxiety.
Patients May Be Putting Off Dental Visits
Nearly half of all dental patients put off dental visits during the pandemic, which can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease . By missing your professional teeth cleaning and checkup, you miss early detection of problems that have the potential to be reversed, such as early tooth decay and gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.
Dentists are now seeing patients for both regular checkups and elective procedures and are actively screening patients to ensure a safe practice for both patients and staff. If you’ve put off your checkup anytime recently, don’t wait to make an appointment for your oral health now.
COVID-19 Can Cause Lingering Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is one of the earliest symptoms that patients with COVID-19 report . However, patients who have recovered from the virus may continue to experience dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth doesn’t just cause bad breath—it can disrupt oral bacteria and lead to increased plaque, which can increase your risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and oral thrush.
You may be able to manage dry mouth with prescription mouthwashes that mimic saliva, drinking more water, and chewing sugarless gum. If you suffer from dry mouth, your dentist can help you improve or manage the condition to protect your smile.
Has Your Smile Been Impacted by COVID-19?
COVID-19’s implications for oral health are diverse and are still coming to light. Have your teeth and gums have been impacted by COVID-19, or have you put off a dental visit because of the pandemic? If so, it’s time to book a checkup with your dentist to ensure your smile is healthy!