Glamour Magazine (10/26, McCoy) reported that most dentists have seen an increase in stress-related oral health conditions since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to “a recent survey of 3,491 American dentists.” These conditions include bruxism and cracked teeth, among others. Dr. Tricia Quartey-Sagaille, an ADA spokesperson, said, “I’ve never had this many [patients in night guards],” describing the increase as “extraordinary.” Bruxism may cause oral health problems, including fractured teeth. “You can break it to a point where the inside part of the tooth is exposed, and now you have a higher likelihood of having cavities and then the pain associated with that,” said Dr. Quartey-Sagaille.
In addition, more patients may be neglecting oral hygiene during the pandemic, WKBT-TV La Crosse, WI (10/26, Tighe) reported. Before the pandemic, “your day had a rhythm to it,” Dr. Matthew Messina, a spokesperson for the ADA, told USA TODAY last month. When that rhythm is interrupted, it can be easy to forget “simple little things like oral hygiene,” he said.
Dentists can refer patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for additional information on bruxism. In addition, the ADA Catalog offers the book Understanding Bruxism: Current Knowledge and Practice.