Stress, life, and night guards: Dr. Birch's observation

Here's an interesting fact: Dr. Birch has made more night guards in the last three years than in all 15 years of his dental career prior. So what's going on?

Upon further investigation, Dr. Birch discovered a key factor that has been affecting his patients' oral health: stress and anxiety. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the levels of stress and anxiety in society dramatically increased. This resulted in an increase in bruxism, or teeth grinding.

Bruxism is a condition where an individual unconsciously grinds or clenches their teeth, often during sleep. This can lead to a variety of dental problems, including worn-down teeth, jaw pain, headaches, and even cracked or broken teeth. And with the added stress and anxiety of the pandemic, more and more people have been experiencing bruxism, resulting in a higher demand for mouthguard and night guards.

Dr. Birch's observation was correct. According to the Academy of General Dentistry and a study done by the American Dental Association, "59.3% of dentist respondents reported seeing an increase in bruxism, 55.9% saw an increase in chipped teeth, 56.6% saw an increase in cracked teeth, 52.5% saw an increase in TMD symptoms, and 35.8% saw an increase in dental caries during COVID-19."

As the pandemic calmed down, politics and global issues continued and in some cases, even worsened. In a society with quick access to news, social media, and other communication, the stress and anxiety continues for patients.

Dr. Birch's observation highlights the significant impact of external stressors on oral health. It also serves as a reminder to take care of ourselves and address any potential signs of bruxism, such as jaw pain or headaches, before they escalate into more serious dental issues.

If you've noticed jaw pain, cracked teeth, or new tooth sensitivity, schedule an appointment to discuss solutions with Dr. Birch. Prevention is always best. A night guard to wear during sleep beats fixing chipped teeth or developing a more serious disorder in the jaw. Most dental insurance companies cover night guard appliances and recognize their importance in preventing future dental issues.