Study finds increase in teeth grinding and facial pain due to coronavirus stress

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Photo: Tharakarn Arunothai – 123rf

The stress and anxiety experienced by the general population during Israel’s first lockdown brought about a significant rise in orofacial and jaw pain, as well as jaw-clenching in the daytime and teeth-grinding at night, according to a new study from Tel Aviv. 

The research—by a team at Tel Aviv University (TAU)—also found that women suffered more from these symptoms than men, and that 35- to 55-year-olds suffered most.

“We believe that our findings reflect the distress felt by the middle generation, who were cooped up at home with young children, without the usual help from grandparents, while also worrying about their elderly parents, facing financial problems and often required to work from home under trying conditions,” the researchers said.

The study—which is published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine—examined questionnaires that assessed the presence and possible worsening of these symptoms in the general population during the first COVID-19 lockdown, due to the national emergency and rise in anxiety levels. The questionnaire was answered by a total of 1800 respondents in Israel and Poland.

During Israel’s first lockdown, the general population exhibited a considerable rise in orofacial pain, as well as jaw-clenching in the daytime and teeth-grinding at night—physical symptoms often caused by stress and anxiety. 

People who had suffered from these symptoms before the pandemic exhibited a rise of about 15 per cent in their severity. Altogether a rise of 10-25 per cent was recorded in these symptoms, which often reflect emotional stress.

In addition, comparing findings in Israel to results in Poland (another study was done by a team at the University of Wroclaw), the researchers found that probability of bruxism was much higher among respondents in Poland.

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