Since March of 2020, we’ve all had to adjust to significant changes, including changes to dental care. Many people have suffered a decline in dental health due to Covid-19. The effects of the pandemic and the disease itself have both taken a toll—from increased stress to side effects, to a higher risk of complications. Covid-19 and dental health have been closely related.
Lapses in Dental Care
Early in the pandemic, dental offices were closed for all but emergency visits, which resulted in a lot of missed appointments. People were forced to postpone important dental care visits for cleanings, fillings, and orthodontic treatments. These delays allowed existing problems to grow worse and led to a general decline in dental health.
Besides missing their regular appointments, some people also let their at-home oral care slip. Stress and changes in routine disrupted a lot of the good habits like twice-daily brushing and flossing that keep gum disease and cavities at bay. Without reminders from their dentists and professional dental cleanings, many people developed gum infections and tooth decay.
An increase in stress levels during the pandemic led to a substantial rise in cases of stress-related dental conditions. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching, also known as bruxism, is an unconscious response to stress that affects both adults and children. Grinding and clenching teeth wears down tooth enamel, which makes teeth more vulnerable to cavities and can also cause breakage, tooth fractures, headaches, and jaw pain.
Because teeth grinding usually happens during sleep, most people don’t even realize they’re doing it. And, without regular exams, dentists will not be able to detect the warning signs. Stay-at-home orders, financial strain, and stressful changes to work and school schedules all led to new cases of teeth grinding. Constantly having to adapt to a “new normal” continues to impact stress levels and dental health.
Besides an altered sense of taste and smell, up to 43% of people who got Covid-19 also developed symptoms of dry mouth. Your saliva is actually your first line of defense against tooth decay and gum disease. It remineralizes your tooth enamel and rinses away the harmful bacteria that cause plaque and tartar. If you have dry mouth, you can’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth hydrated and healthy.
Recent research also found a link between gum disease and an increased risk of Covid-19 complications. According to a study published by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, people with healthy gums were less likely to suffer fatal outcomes than people with infected gums. Like Covid-19, gum disease also triggers an inflammatory response that can compromise respiratory health.
Schedule a Checkup at Colorado Dental Group Today
Don’t let Covid-19 affect your dental health! Regular dentist appointments will help keep your mouth healthy and help with early detection of issues like gum disease or teeth grinding. We’re following all of the mandated health and safety protocols that reduce the risk of Covid-19 exposure for our patients and our staff. Contact us today to schedule a cleaning and get your dental health back on track for 2022.