Everybody responds differently while adapting to change and dealing with stressful situations. Whether it be a change in your financial circumstance, strained relationships, working from home or homeschooling the kids, COVID-19 has affected us all in one way or another.
It’s important to note that it’s normal for us to feel a sense of fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic. As news about the disease unfolds in the media, it’s no surprise that the situation triggers stress, especially on our teeth. Although rules on isolation are relaxing, our bodies can take time to recover from the stress and lack of certainty.
While stress presents itself in several ways, for many stress can lead to jaw clenching or teeth grinding (sometimes without even being aware of it), as well as turning to foods that contain high sugar or acid for comfort.
All of which can put added strain on fragile or heavily filled teeth (teeth that already have fillings). Clenching and grinding can cause our teeth to break and chip, which can be painful or sharp edges in the mouth can cut the gums and tongue. There is also the risk of fracturing, cracking, or splitting the tooth in the middle, which unfortunately leads to tooth failure.
It’s so vital that you take the time to relax and unwind each day. That’s easier said than done. Often, we don’t release just how tense our body is if we don’t make a conscious effort to relax. If you notice yourself grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, having notes around the house, or setting reminders on your phone can gently remind you to check in with yourself. Other techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, daily exercise or spending time with your furry friends are all excellent ways that can bring down stress levels. Find something that gives you joy even if just for a few minutes. When you are feeling good about life and business, take the time to write down 10 the things that bring you joy. It might be listening to music, going for a walk, calling a friend, reading or reaching out to someone to see how they are going. Then when you are feeling low or sad, get that list out and do something from that list that brings you joy so as to find that happy place again.
Foods to Avoid
It may be that you find joy in certain foods and drinks. Isolation can make some temptations hard to ignore. We get it. Continually snacking on high-sugar foods day-to-day will only harm your teeth. Sugary foods are known to have a direct connection to tooth decay. The sugar combined with saliva in the mouth results in ‘sticky’ plaque on teeth which eventually leads to decay.
Beverages such as wine, soda water, carbonated water and fizzy drinks contain acid. This acid eats away at the teeth over time. Even more so when we brush our teeth immediately after having these drinks, as the action of the brush will rub the acid into the teeth. This can remove the outer layer of hardened enamel and expose dentine, which is much softer than enamel and also more yellow and can become very sensitive. That’s why you may find that whitening toothpastes no longer work because the dentine cannot be made more ‘white’. Some whitening toothpastes are also at risk of removing that protective enamel.
Ensure to hold off brushing your teeth for at least one hour after acidic food or drink and rinse your mouth out with plain water to reduce the acid levels in on your teeth.
Overall, acidic foods and sugary food and drinks damage our pearly whites, either by wearing them away or causing decay.
You Dentist, Oral Health Therapist or Dental Hygienist will know exactly what to recommend for managing sensitive teeth and tooth wear so ensure to ask about what can be done to help you particular dental concern. They can also give preventative advice to reduce the risk of decay and tooth wear over the long term.
Invest in a Night guard
If you notice that you’re grinding your teeth at night, investing in a Dentist-fitted Night guard is a great option. It’s a horse shoe shape and made from plastic. This appliance is worn over your teeth while you sleep and stops teeth from scraping against each other, acting like a cushioning device, much like the suspension on our cars. Ensure to have your dentist check you jaw and teeth for signs of clenching and grinding so they can provide you the best plan going forward in prevention and management of toothwear.
Call Your Dentist Professional
If you’re finding that jaw clenching and teeth grinding is changing the shape of your teeth or causing pain, get in contact with the Lidums Dental Team today. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have taken precautions to keep our team and patients safe and minimise the spread of the virus.
We understand that given the current situation, cash flow may be a little tighter than normal. We offer a range of financial options and plans to assist our patients in receiving the treatments they want for both short-term and long-term dental objectives.
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