Covid19 has had a significant effect on some people’s teeth, mouth, facial muscles, jaw joints and gums.  These effects may have been caused by stress, working from home, snacking, essential workers N95 mask wearing, covid19 infection and other factors.  This newsletter we would like to acknowledge that despite great efforts the number of cases of Covid19 infection is still a thing and will be for some time.

Working from home is often a cause for snacking during the day.  It doesn’t really matter whether it is high sugar snacking and drinking or other foods/drink snacking as all of these will drop the saliva acidity level for at least 30 mins after food. This results in loss of enamel material before saliva buffers the acid away.  Then especially if there is soft plaque between the teeth it is very difficult for saliva to buffer and decay can happen in between the teeth.  Cleaning between teeth with floss, interdental brushes or a waterpik/airflosser will help remove the soft plaques before they create issues.

Symptoms of muscle or jaw pain in the face and ear are often related to stress.  And we all know there has been no stress in the last 3 years! Who are we trying to kid? When we are stressed, we do tend to take it out on our teeth, jaws, head, neck and shoulders.  With teeth clenching and grinding creates wear facets and fracture lines in the enamel, bruises the ligaments between the teeth and the bone, inflames the jaw joint and compresses and tenses the muscles around the face, head and neck.  Continued clenching and grinding on teeth can lead to tooth cusps fracturing off or nerve death within the tooth requiring large fillings or dental crowns, root canal treatment or extraction.  Sometimes all of the above.  Often, we use an acrylic splint to help prevent damage to teeth along with a trip or two to the physiotherapist to help release the facial, neck and shoulder muscles.  The physiotherapist might also ask you about your ergonomics working from home.  Health care workers who are wearing an N95 respiratory mask may also often have issues with muscular facial, head and neck pain as the muscles are working against the stretch of the N95 mask as they talk.  So, if they are not talking that is okay.  They probably have a sore jaw.

Direct Covid19 infection effects on teeth, mouth, facial muscles, jaw joints and gums has not been fully investigated at this stage and varies between people.  One symptom of infection can be a loss of taste and smell.  The mechanism behind this is unknown and it appears that those senses do return, although sometimes slowly. There have also been cases reported of increased gingival bleeding and pocketing, stress related injuries to teeth, muscles and jaw joints, and facial pain.  For these symptoms we recommend seeing your dentist and hygienist for advice and any treatment.

Mad March has arrived!  We hope that the Festival and Fringe events you go to are all fabulously fun and that you have a chance to support the local hospitality businesses along the way.  The Fringe and Festival do bring quite a vibe into the city and surrounds.

See you in the clinic!  The Adelaide City Dental Care Team. PS:  check out our socials (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram) for top tips for teeth, mouth and gums and dental family snaps!  Maybe even the latest video on YouTube.

Leave a reply