NY dentist details 'epidemic of cracked teeth' brought on by COVID-19, stress

Posted at 1:23 PM, Sep 09, 2020

A dentist in New York says she's been seeing patients more than ever since the coronavirus pandemic began. She says it has nothing to do with anyone being sick, but with what she calls the "epidemic of cracked teeth."

Prosthodontist Tammy Chen detailed that coronavirus-related stress leads people to clench and grind their teeth in a New York Times article.

"Teeth are naturally brittle, and everyone has tiny fissures in their teeth from chewing, grinding, and everyday use," Chen wrote. "They can take only so much trauma before they eventually break."

Chen also attributed a lack of sleep and how people sit while working from home as to why she's seeing more patients in her dentist chair.

"If you're wondering why a dentist cares about ergonomics, the simple truth is that nerves in your neck and shoulder muscles lead into the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, which connects the jawbone to the skull," Chen stated in the NYT piece. "Poor posture during the day can translate into a grinding problem at night."

Chen recommends being mindful of your top and bottom teeth touching each other. The only time they should be doing that, Chen said, is while eating.

She also said to wear a nightguard or retainer during the day, setting up a proper space to work and moving around during your eight or 9-hour workday.

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