Did lockdown damage my teeth? 3 possible problems

23rd September 2020 | Posted by: Vanessa Giraud

As we wonder whether we’ll end up in another lockdown (let’s try to make sure that doesn’t happen) we’re able to reflect on the last one. Please take the time now we’re open again to follow up on your oral health. Make an appointment, check for concerns and fix any lockdown damage.

The months of lockdown and the compulsory closure of dentists may have affected your teeth. We know that some people suffered through lockdown with dental pain, and even had to manage their own temporary fillings. Of course, this is not a situation we ever wanted to happen. Dentists want people to live with pain-free, comfortable mouths.

man working on laptop at home may have lockdown damage to back and teeth

As dentists, we encourage people to visit regularly, and also to come to see us as soon as they experience any discomfort. Although dentists cannot see as many patients in a day as we used to because we spread appointments out for safety, our patients can benefit from face-to-face appointments. We are delivering our usual range of treatments again, with appropriate modifications to the way we work.

In this article we look at three reasons your teeth may need some additional care now.

How could lockdown damage my teeth?

First of all, consider how you spent lockdown? There was the initial enthusiasm to get things done that we’re not usually at home to do: painting, gardening, exercise (even if it was inside and online) cooking. But at the same time we’re working online, helping the children with schooling, experiencing cabin fever, and so we turn to some homely pleasures, like eating.

So while we may have started lockdown with the best of intentions, we’re all human and may have indulged a bit. And if you’re still working from home, consider what you’re doing while you’re working now too.


At home, there’s a big temptation to snack. Whether it’s crisps or chocolate, home-made cakes or marinades, the chances are we probably ate more than usual.

Dentists recommend giving up the snack habit. Each time we eat or drink the tough enamel that protects our teeth softens and takes up to half an hour to re-mineralise. This means, that if we’re constantly eating, our teeth are not so protected, and the chance of dental erosion is higher.


If we were eating more, then the chances are we were drinking more too. Water and milk are the best drinks for our teeth, while sugary juices or fizz (including beer and prosecco) can subject our teeth to both sugar and acid at the same time, causing dental erosion. Moreover, if it was coffee or tea, then the lockdown damage to your teeth may be that they have discoloured.

It’s the enamel that helps our teeth look strong, bright and healthy, as well as protecting sensitive dentine. Please ask your dentist whether tooth whitening will help. It’s really not worth resorting to DIY tooth whitening.


While acknowledging that for some people this time has been especially devastating, for all of us it’s been a very stressful year. Levels of tension and stress have been (still are) high. Abrasion damages our teeth. So clenching, gritting or grinding our teeth causes a lot of unnecessary wear. Not only can enamel weaken, teeth can fracture under additional such pressure, especially if we have fillings already, and we can damage our jaw.

If you’re aware of these habits developing your dentist can fit you with a comfortable plate, that prevents the teeth from locking, protecting both the teeth and the jaws.

Dentists are here to help

During a regular check-up, dentists look for areas of concern. For example, they can tell from your teeth the habits we’ve developed that are damaging them. While their advice to stop smoking, drinking, eating sweets or taking the caps off bottles with our teeth may be unwelcome, they offer sound advice and action we can take. They’ll also repair our teeth when we’ve damaged them. We just need to remember that a repair is just that – a repair. A damaged tooth can be fixed, but it will never be as strong as an undamaged tooth. So we need to do our best to protect them and keep them healthy.

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