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Dentists say they’re seeing more cracked teeth due to pandemic stress

Dentists have seen a surge in patients with cracked or damaged teeth over the course of the pandemic, a phenomenon some believe may be related to an increase in jaw clenching and grinding due to stress.

TORONTO —

Toronto-area dentist Dr. Kal Khaled closed his practice to all but emergency patients at the beginning of the lockdown and soon noticed an uptick in emergency patients coming in with cracked molars and damaged fillings leading to abscesses.

To his surprise, his colleagues reported a similar trend, one he believes is a compounding issue of stress, poor diet, and a lack of oral care.

“Enamel is a rock-like substance and it’s super strong—it shouldn’t break. But what we’re finding is that because of the quarantine period, a lot of people have been hesitant to go to the dentist,” Khaled, president of the Ontario Alliance of Dentists, told CTVNews.ca Tuesday.

“[Tooth] decay is accelerated by stress, and poor life conditions, such as not sleeping or eating well. Needless to say, teeth have taken a beating over the last few months.”

Though the Canadian Dental Association says the relationship between grinding your teeth and stress isn’t clear, there have been reports of an increase in COVID-19-induced nightmares and pandemic-related anxiety causing clenching and grinding.

Social media is filled with reports of people suffering headaches, toothaches and jaw soreness after grinding their teeth, which many say they only started doing in recent months.

Those reports skyrocketed Tuesday after the New York Times published an article written by New York City-based dentist Tammy Chen, claiming she was treating up to six tooth fractures a day.

While Chen also cites stress as a possible cause for teeth grinding, she notes that…

Nicole Bogart, Nicole Bogart

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