Is Stress During the Pandemic Causing You Pain?
With the additional stress we’ve all felt lately, have you found yourself grinding your teeth or clenching your jaws more? Do you experience increased facial pain?
Well, you’re not alone and we can help!
This condition is known as bruxism, where you may unconsciously clench your teeth while you’re awake or grind them during sleep. This can lead to other conditions such as sleep apnea, TMJ disorders, headaches, damaged teeth, and other oral health problems.
A new study from Tel Aviv University in Israel found that many people are experiencing increased teeth grinding and pain due to the stress and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The study found an increase from 35% before the pandemic to 47% during.
Dentists across North America have also been noticing an increase in patients with cracked or damaged teeth. Some believe this may be related to an increase in jaw clenching and grinding due to stress. New York City-based Dr. Tammy Chen notes that poor posture while working from home may also play a role.
Symptoms of Bruxism
- Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Tired or tight jaw muscles, or a locked jaw that won’t open or close completely
- Jaw, neck or face pain or soreness
- Pain that feels like an earache, though it’s actually not a problem with your ear
- Dull headache starting in the temples
- Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
- Sleep disruption
What You Can Do
Self-care during the pandemic is essential, particularly stress relief and mindfulness. Remember to take care of your physical and mental health by establishing a healthy routine, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy diet. Make sure your working space at home is ergonomic and mind your posture while you work.
It is also important to keep up with your regularly scheduled dental checkups. This will help us identify any existing or potential problems promptly, thus avoiding the need for more complicated treatments later on. If you have been putting off dental care, please know our office follows the highest standards of sterilization and cleanliness as instructed by the government and dental college.
If you are having chronic jaw pain or noticing that you have been clenching or grinding your teeth every night, your dentist can create a custom nightguard to protect your teeth. Contact us today to see how we can help!