More than a full year into the Covid-19 pandemic, cracked and chipped teeth are significantly on the rise as pandemic stress takes its toll.
Irish dentist Dr. Lisa Creaven of Spotlight Oral Care has seen a huge increase in stress-related oral care issues, but particularly, in cracked teeth.
Unsurprisingly, this concern is being raised globally, as a recent survey by the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute found that over 60% of dentists surveyed in the US had also identified a significant rise in issues with cracked and chipped teeth.
Dr. Creaven commented on the rise in cracked teeth: "Particularly over the past six months, we have noticed a huge increase in patients with cracked teeth. This is typically stress related, and a common side effect is people tend to clench or grind their teeth more which puts a stress on the teeth and can cause them to chip or crack.
"Speaking with other Irish dentists, this has become a concern for oral care practitioners across the board. To avoid stress-related cracked teeth, I recommend daily focus on stress relief in the form of exercise, meditation, and being aware of not clenching during the day.
"Most people tend to clench their teeth at night, and if so, you may require a night guard that can be made by your dentist."
Due to the pandemic, many patients have avoided the dentist for months, missing check-ups and non-essential visits. As a result, Irish dentists are still trying to keep up with demand and according to Dr. Creaven, basic services such as teeth cleaning are very busy.
A concern for Irish dentists is that these missed appointments can lead to more long term damage. Dr. Lisa recommends resuming regular visits with your hygienist and dentist every 6 months, or as often as you had pre-pandemic.
"It’s important to remember most oral health is achieved at home, so by using clinically proven active ingredients that target your individual oral care needs, you will largely reduce your risk of a dental emergency.
"Basic things like thorough brushing with a sonic brush, flossing daily and maintaining a good lifestyle goes a long way in preventing oral disease."