KILLEEN, Texas — The coronavirus pandemic has lead to consequences in oral health.
More than 70% of dentists surveyed by the American Dental Association are seeing more patients experiencing teeth grinding and clenching, which are often caused by stress.
"That can lead to all sorts of damage of the teeth, discomfort, headaches, and cracked teeth in really bad cases," Dr. Mathew Winter said, a dentist at Smile Magic of Killeen.
Since the pandemic started he said he's been seeing three to four times as many people with problems related to stress than before.
"You might wake up with clicking and popping in your jaw or difficulty opening all the way as the muscles are tight all night, they can have trouble loosening up when you wake up," Dr. Winter said. Other symptoms include waking up with a headache or sore teeth, sensitivity to food when chewing, and shooting pain when drinking cold liquids.
"These things are way better treated when they're small, which is why we recommend every six months," Dr. Winter said.
You can prevent future health problem, according to Dr. Winter by managing stress, getting enough sleep and exercise as well as staying up to date with your dentist visits.
If left untreated there can be more serious long-term effects.
"Not only does discomfort affect your whole life negatively, but even the germs in our mouth have been found in people's hearts, have been found in people's joints, and we don't want preventable problems to lead to overall health issues," Dr. Winter said. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, Dr. Winter said it's best to stop chewing gum and visit your dentist.
For more on Smile Magic of Killeen, click here.