Molar meltdown: Pandemic panic is causing people to crack their teeth

They’re cracking under the pressure.

In case you thought the coronavirus wasn’t anxiety-inducing enough, people are now breaking their teeth more from stress.

“We have seen an increasing amount of fractured teeth in probably the past six months,” Dr. Paul Koshgerian, a San Diego-based oral surgeon, recently told CNN regarding an apparent uptick in cases.

Koshgerian reportedly went from treating one tooth fracture daily pre-COVID to as many as five a day in recent months. Meanwhile, Iowa endodontist Derek Peek said his cases have nearly doubled despite the fact that the number of patients has declined since the pandemic’s advent.

The coronavirus doesn’t directly make one’s chompers more vulnerable. However, the panic surrounding current events, including COVID-19, has resulted in an uptick in tooth bruxism — an involuntary clenching or grinding defined by facial pain, stiffness in the jaw joint and worn-down teeth, according to the UK’s National Health Service. If untreated, the condition can damage one’s crowns and fillings and even fracture their teeth.

Unfortunately, bruxism is especially difficult to avoid as it occurs at night when people are sleeping and have no conscious control over their anxiety levels.

To mitigate tooth-clenching tendencies, doctors recommend practicing proper posture throughout the day and using neck pillows at night to take pressure off the jaw. Meanwhile, Koshgerian said regularly engaging in yoga, meditation and other relaxing pursuits can help relieve the stress associated with bruxism.

Nocturnal gnashing isn’t the only side effect of pandemic panic. In the past, COVID conniptions have reportedly led to everything from “quarantine fatigue” to premature deaths.

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