The coronavirus pandemic has altered the way many of us live our lives, maybe even forever. From wearing masks in public to working from home, many of us have had our daily routines disrupted in ways we may never have thought possible a year ago. But while some of these changes may not be entirely bad (work calls in your pajamas!) other side effects of the pandemic have been shown to be very bad. One such side effect is the effect this pandemic is having on our oral health.
A recent article by US Today has revealed that around the country and around the world, many dentists are noticing a rise in serious dental problems since the pandemic began. Not just more problems, but more problems in individual patients than normal.
One problem dentists are seeing more of is temporomandibular joint dysfunction, as many people have manifested the stress of today’s current events physically, often grinding their teeth or clenching their jaws. This doesn’t just lead to TMJ dysfunction, it can lead to cracked teeth, something which USA Today reports is on the rise. It seems many endodontists are seeing not just one but multiple cracked teeth in patients since the pandemic began.
Another problem dentists are reporting seeing is more cavities. Whether people are eating more sugary foods or simply letting their oral health routines fall by the wayside in the pandemic, dentists are not only treating more cavities, but more severe cavities. This could also be due to people putting off routine exams during quarantine.
Gum disease is also on the incline, as USA Today reports more dentists are seeing patients with inflamed gums than they did before the pandemic. This is another sign that oral hygiene may be sliding as people are not as social and not getting dressed up like they might have prior to the pandemic.
Ultimately, the article echoes what dentists around the world want you to know: take excellent care of your oral hygiene, don’t try to wait out oral health pain, don’t assume pain will simply ‘go away’ on its own, and don’t put off your semi-annual dental exam.