Pandemic Stress Taking a Toll on Teeth, Dentists Say, How to Protect Yours


The pandemic has led to an increase in stress and anxiety, and in turn, is leading to an increase in cracked, broken, and damaged teeth, dentists say. Here’s what you can do to protect your teeth.

Dentists see spike in damaged teeth due to pandemic stress

There is a little argument when it comes to acknowledging the global pandemic has led to an increase in stress and anxiety worldwide. But it’s not only psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals observing the signs – so are dentists.

Dentists say that the pressures of the pandemic are causing people to grind their teeth and involuntary clench their jaws during their sleep, CBC Canada reports. This involuntary grinding leads to teeth cracking, chipping, or loosening.

Since the pandemic started, dentists say they are seeing an increase in patients coming in with cracked, broken, and damaged teeth caused by nocturnal grinding.

Signs of this nocturnal behavior are an aching jaw in the morning, sore teeth, and a headache.

Dentists say jaw clenching and teeth grinding during the night and talking during sleep are all signs of the body attempting to address emotional issues – a way of releasing stress.

Advice from dentists

The first piece of advice coming from dentists is to work on reducing your stress.

On their website, the Canadian Dental Association recommends: “Practice stress-reducing activities, such as staying physically active, yoga and meditation, deep breathing exercises, massage therapy, listening to music and or taking a bath.”

They further encourage limiting caffeine and alcohol, sticking to a nutritious diet, avoiding frequent snacking, and overconsumption of sugary foods and drinks.

What you can do to protect your teeth

To protect your teeth, consult the advice of a dentist.

One action your dentist may take to protect your teeth against stressful grinding or clicking while you sleep is to have you use some type of mouthguard.

The best mouthguard is one your dentist’s office can make for you by taking a mold of your teeth to make a custom-fitted mouthpiece. This is the best way to ensure your teeth don’t grind, as well as it helps keep your teeth in place and not putting pressure on one another.

This procedure is simple, painless, and relatively inexpensive.

There are also various services online where you can order a custom mouthguard.

However, if you’re on a super-tight budget and can’t afford a custom nighttime mouthguard from your dentist’s office, the next best thing is to simply buy an over-the-counter sports mouthguard that you can pick up at any sporting goods store or the sporting goods section of your local big box store (i.e. Walmart, Target, etc.) or for as little as $1.99 on Amazon. While it may move around a little more in your mouth than a custom fitting, it will still achieve the primary objective of not allowing your teeth to grind against one another.