Can COVID-19 Affect Your Dental Health?

January 31, 2022

covid dentistFor almost two years now, Covid-19 has been causing complications in people’s health and daily lives. While some Covid-19 symptoms can affect your dental health, the pandemic itself has had a major impact as well. From missed appointments to stress-related conditions, many people here in Colorado have suffered setbacks in their dental health. Here are a few of the trends we’ve noticed.

Three Ways Covid-19 Can Affect Your Dental Health

1: Missed Appointments

At the start of the pandemic, back in March of 2020, dentist offices had to postpone all services except for dental emergencies. These closures forced many people to miss their regular exams and cleanings, and their non-emergency conditions—like cavities and gingivitis—were left untreated. Even after restrictions were lifted,  other people had to cancel their dentist appointments due to changes in employment, lapses in their health insurance, or self-quarantines.

Regular exams and cleanings are extremely important for good dental health. Unless your dentist gets a chance to spot problems like decay, inflamed gums, or teeth grinding, those problems will only grow worse. Treating dental conditions early on prevents the need for more invasive procedures like root canals or scaling and planing. Because of missed appointments due to Covid-19, the dental health of many people suffered.

2: Stress

It’s probably no surprise that stress-related dental conditions have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. Changes in daily routines, working or learning at home, and constantly having to adapt to a “new normal” has put everyone under more stress and strain. For some people, this new stress has led to a condition known as bruxism, or teeth grinding.

Habitual grinding wears down the protective tooth enamel, and can also cause cracks and fractures in the teeth. Most people who grind their teeth are not even aware that they are doing it—it’s either a subconscious response to stress, or it happens at night while they’re sleeping. Your dentist will probably be the first to notice the signs of bruxism and can fit you with a custom mouth guard to wear at night that will prevent damage from teeth grinding.

3: Dry Mouth

Nearly half of all people who contracted the Covid-19 virus experienced symptoms of dry mouth. Though it might not seem like a major problem, dry mouth can have serious effects on your dental health. The bacteria that form plaque and cause tooth decay thrive in a mouth that does not produce enough saliva. Plaque can build up much more quickly in a dry mouth, putting your dental health at risk.

Your saliva actually plays a major role in protecting your teeth and gums. It washes away food particles and bacteria and neutralizes the acid attacks from plaque that would otherwise cause cavities. The minerals in your saliva can even help strengthen tooth enamel. If you do get Covid, make sure to keep your mouth hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and brushing and flossing regularly to prevent plaque buildup.

Don’t Let Covid-19 Affect Your Dental Health!

Maintaining good oral care habits and keeping up with your dentist appointments will help you protect your dental health, no matter what the pandemic throws your way. If you’ve missed an exam or cleaning due to Covid-19, contact My Dentist Westminster today. We offer new patients a full exam with cleaning and x-rays for only $59! Call 303-460-9000 or request an appointment online and take the next step toward better dental health.