Stress-Related Oral Health Issues On The Rise In The Pandemic

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Stress-Related Oral Health Issues On The Rise In The Pandemic
Dentists say they're treating more patients suffering from grinding and clenching of teeth.

Dentists say they've been treating more stress-related oral health issues. 

In a survey by the Health Policy Institute and American Dental Association, dentists reported a 71% increase in teeth grinding and clenching, a 63% increase in chipped or cracked teeth and a 62% increase in those experiencing joint disorder symptoms, which include jaw pain and headaches. 

"It's a way for the body to fight stress, a little bit, and it is not unusual. We've known it for many, many years that stress can provoke patients into going into a grinding or clenching habit," said Dr. Leila Jahangiri, a professor of prosthodontics at New York University.

Jahangiri said these issues could be more common in the pandemic because of stress, but also because patients may have delayed visits.

Jahangiri said while patients may not notice signs of grinding or clenching, but there may be some indicators. 

"Some of the common signs are headaches, sometimes they're neck aches," she said.

"In more severe situations, patients can get jaw aches," Jahangiri added. 

She said these habits can prompt mobility of teeth and lead to shifting.