What We Know About COVID-19 and Dental Health

dental health and covid

A year ago, we thought COVID-19 was solely a respiratory illness, but over time scientists discovered that it affects the entire body. It brings a variety of unusual symptoms with it. Loss of smell, loss of taste, and altered tastes have all been reported as potential side effects. With the variety of strange ways that COVID-19 affects people’s teeth, some questions arose around whether tooth loss was a potential symptom.

Can COVID-19 cause teeth to fall out? While anecdotally some people who tested positive for the coronavirus say yes, there is no evidence that points to an increased likelihood of tooth loss and COVID-19. Many dentists suggest that signs that have presented themselves over the past year like worn teeth, cracked teeth, and jaw pain are more likely to be symptomatic of extreme stress rather than the disease itself. Until enough data is available, it is unclear if there is a connection – however, it is most likely to be related to periodontitis.

However, dentists have seen a rise of cases related to stress that can be easily resolved through preventative care. Below, read about our current understanding of the pain most people are feeling in their teeth after a positive COVID-19 test, and what you can do to make a positive impact on your teeth.

Why Does My Mouth Hurt After COVID-19?

Before jumping to conclusions about why you might have tooth pain after COVID-19, consider your stress levels first. Do you often find yourself with a clenched jaw or jaw pain after waking up from a night of sleep?

If so, you may have bruxism. Bruxism, or excessive grinding of the teeth, is a common problem. While mild cases might only cause light pain, more severe bruxism can lead to damaged teeth, temporomandibular joint disorders, and headaches.

Treating Bruxism

Bruxism is generally considered symptomatic of stress – in most cases it goes away over time, and can be treated with anxiety management. While bruxism cannot be cured with medication, it can be treated by investing in a night guard.

Night guards are cushioned mouth guards that are to be worn while sleeping. They are available in three types:

  • Soft Night Guard – For light teeth grinding, soft night guards are a comfortable option for better sleep and better dental health. Unfortunately, these night guards can wear out easily with use over the course of a year. If you’ve only noticed signs of bruxism since the beginning of the pandemic, these can serve as an excellent short-term solution.
  • Hard Night Guard – Severe cases of bruxism require a hard night guard. For teeth grinding that has worn or damaged the teeth already, hard night guards are durable but are sometimes uncomfortable, particularly for children.
  • Hybrid Night Guard – Hybrid night guards blend both models together by using a hard exterior and a soft interior, making them more comfortable than hard night guards and more resilient than soft night guards.

A dentist will be able to help you determine which type of night guard is most suitable for your bruxism.

COVID-19 and Dental Health Are Related, But Not How You Might Think

Although we have been living with COVID-19 for over a year, many variables remain around its long-term impact on our health and well-being. For now, most dental health issues related to COVID-19 are believed to stem from its psychological impact on us, rather than a direct correlation between the disease and tooth loss.

However, worn and cracked teeth should not be ignored. Failure to get these dental health problems treated in a timely manner can lead it to affect the enamel, which cannot be treated. These issues are best addressed by the help of a dental professional, and can prevent sustained long-term damage to your teeth.

At Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry, we are extremely conscious of the relationship between your dental health and COVID-19. However, we understand that your dental health isn’t something that can be ignored. We have taken measures to ensure that your dental health checkup is done in the safest conditions possible. Watch our video on the measures that we have taken to ensure your visit is safe, or contact us today to book an appointment.