All this stress and anxiety has taken a huge toll on people’s physical and mental health. According to The Age, our teeth seemingly bear the brunt, with dentists reporting a huge increase in patients coming in with damaged teeth due to grinding them over the past couple of years.
We already knew that COVID had triggered a financial boon for psychologists over the last couple of years, with people seeking out more and more mental health resources to cope with stress. But now dentists are cleaning up (both metaphorically and literally) as more and more patients start turning up to appointments with damaged or broken teeth from years of grinding and clenching.
“There’s going to be the new pandemic of people with rotten teeth or broken teeth,” Victorian president of the Australian Dental Association Dr Jeremy Sternson told The Age. “People have got to the stage where they’re losing teeth; they’ve lost a lot of bone around the teeth. They’re going to start needing things like dentures or implants or some prosthetics just to be able to function.”
So, if you are a teeth grinder, it’s important that you go to your dentists regularly before you cause real damage to yourself. Dentists recommend having a check-up once a year, or more frequently if you’re at risk of gum disease.
It’s also really important that you find another outlet for managing your stress that is less damaging and not as expensive as needing a prosthetic. For example, you could consider popping bubble wrap, biting your nails or screaming loudly into the abyss. All of these options are healthy, cheap alternatives to clenching your jaw. If you opt for the latter, just let your neighbours know in advance so that they don’t call the police.
Of course, another and perhaps simpler option is to just walk around all day wearing a mouthguard. This will prevent you from grinding your teeth, but it will also mean you have to stick to a liquid diet, so it’s important you consider how much you enjoy soup before making this commitment.