Teeth Grinding, Facial Pain Have Increased Due to Stress from COVID-19
What the study found
The study used a questionnaire to examine whether participants had experienced worsening symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers found that there was a rise in orofacial pain during the initial lockdown, which is a symptom generally associated with stress and anxiety. In addition, the prevalence of this symptom increased from about 35 percent before the pandemic to 47 percent during. And jaw clenching during the day increased from about 17 percent to 32 percent. Also, teeth grinding at night went from about 10 percent to 36 percent. The overall severity of the symptoms also rose by about 15 percent.
How to tell if this is happening to you?
Those that clench their jaw at night often wake up with a sore jaw, stiff neck, and pain around the head and neck. This pain can sometimes mimic a headache or earache. Of course, your dentist can tell also. A vital sign to confirm is asking your dentist at your next dental exam if you have signs of tooth wear—the grinding down of your tooth's surface.
What you can do to help yourself
In addition to self-care and stress management, it is vital not to skip regularly scheduled dental and medical visits. Finding the time and making yourself a priority is encouraged during difficult times of stress.
In addition, a custom-molded night guard will help. A night guard protects the teeth from damage by cushioning the effects of clenching while sleeping. This cushion barrier helps to prevent chipped teeth and worn-down teeth, two of the more common problems associated with the act of clenching one's teeth. And almost immediately, you will notice a more restful sleep.