Increased Teeth Grinding, Increased Facial Pain
Two studies are discussed in Journal of Clinical Medicine noting how SARS-CoV-2 is creating a "new situation" complete with "severe health threats, economic uncertainty, and social isolation, causing potential deleterious effects on people’s physical and mental health. These effects are capable of influencing oral and maxillofacial conditions, such as temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and bruxism, which could further aggravate the orofacial pain." People are grinding their teeth and clenching their jaws, leading to an increase in TMD and orofacial pain. The researchers said, "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."
Temporomandibular disorders, such as clenching and grinding, can cause pain and dysfunction of the masticatory muscles, the temporomandibular joints, and other structures. TMD prevalence is about 10% to 15%, affects women more than men, and are exacerbated by stress, anxiety, and depression. Although the study had limitations--no inclusion and/or exclusion criteria were specified; study samples were not predetermined; "the studies were performed during a specific point in time at the first phase of the pandemic and may be indicative of the immediate stress evoked by the sudden health risk and changes in life style." Research should be identify risk groups "and counteract the aggravation of emotional and physical effects in the case of future global crises."
Read the journal article.
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