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By Chrissy Boothroyd

Going to the dentist is never on the top of anyone’s list of things to do, but it should be – especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has ruined a lot of plans for 2020. Did you know that it can be ruining your teeth too?

Dental offices are seeing an increase in patients that have never had dental problems suddenly coming in with broken teeth, cavities, gingivitis, and many other problems. Stress is a major contributing factor to many of these problems, but wearing a mask all day long can also be a contributing factor. You may have heard the phrase “mask mouth.” It is used to describe the side effects of wearing a mask all day. Most people will breathe through their mouth when wearing a mask, which can dry your mouth out. This can lead to cavities, bad breath, gingivitis, and even fungal infections. Breathing through your nose can help alleviate some of these symptoms. Hydrating with water throughout the day can also help. Avoid sports drinks, sodas, and energy drinks – they can actually make things worse. There are lozenges and rinses that can also help with dry mouth.

Pandemic stress has increased clenching and grinding for many people. Clenching and grinding can lead to broken teeth, TMJ issues, and tooth sensitivity. A night guard can help alleviate some of those issues. There are jaw exercises that can help with TMJ pain. There are over the counter and prescription medications for tooth sensitivity. Since Amazon doesn’t currently sell a solution for a broken tooth, that particular problem will require a trip to your dentist. 

If you find yourself grinding your teeth, wake up with a sore jaw, or find you are experiencing a dry mouth, you should make an appointment with your dentist. We can recommend solutions to help prevent future problems and solve your current ones. With the stress of everyday life that the pandemic has created, the importance of oral health and hygiene can be easily overlooked.  As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The important thing to remember is to see your dentist regularly and practice good home care: brush and floss every day, and eat healthy, nutritious food.

Cape May Dental Associates is located at 411 Park Blvd. in Cape May. Dr. Chie Li Ee and the staff look forward to seeing you soon and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice while providing the best care possible. Please call the office at (609) 884-5335 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ee.

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