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How the pandemic could be taking a toll on your teeth

Knoxville dentist explains how stress could be causing you grind your teeth.
Published: May. 17, 2021 at 10:43 PM EDT|Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 10:49 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Since dental offices were allowed to reopen, Jim Erpenbach DDS says he’s noticed more people grinding their teeth.

Erpenbach feels the increase of wear and tear on the teeth could come from pandemic stress.

“You’re worried about stuff. You got to worry about going out in public and getting sick and things like that. So people manifest that through gritting their teeth. They don’t know they’re doing it, but they say ‘gosh my jaws are hurting me, why is that?’,” shared Erpenbach.

That’s not all he’s noticing, he also says people are unconsciously clinching their jaws. He says this is also credited to stress and could lead to headaches.

Dr. Erpenbach says the only times your jaws or teeth should be clinched is when you are eating.

He says using a mouth guard while sleeping can help you to stop grinding your teeth at night. You can also watch your posture while sleeping.

“Sleeping on your back, your jaw falls back. Sleeping on your side puts pressure on your teeth,” says Erpenbach.

Erpenbach says some people have been hesitant to keep up with their oral appointments because of the pandemic, possibly creating more dental issues.

“People don’t want to come in yet that’s understandable. A lot of older people want to avoid being around dentist. It’s understandable. But for those people, things that could have been small now get bigger so a lot of people now have more cavities than they use to have,” says Erpenbach.

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