Jaw Clenching & Teeth Grinding during the Pandemic

Many of us have experienced jaw pain before, due to grinding and clenching our teeth.  Sometimes we do this consciously throughout the day, but other times this happens at night, and we are not even aware of it.  Clenching and grinding usually stems from stress and anxiety, which manifests in different physical ways.  Over time, if we experience this, we can wear our teeth down, eliminating the stability needed in our jaws.

This pandemic time has been a true test for so many people.  We have been under an extraordinary amount of stress during lockdown, such as financial stress, childcare issues, job instability, healthcare costs, family members becoming ill and/or passing away and a consistent influx of “bad” news.  This constant uncertainty has influenced our daily decision-making skills, compounded with emotional and physical burnout from stress.  When you are in constant pain and lacking quality and quantity of sleep, your body remains in a heightened state of stress, creating a vicious cycle.  Getting out of our routines and not knowing if we will ever return to “normal” is something that people were not equipped to deal with.

Researchers noted in the article included below that there has been an overall increase of TMD symptoms by 34% during lockdown (only 15% of whom had noticed TMD symptoms prior to Covid).  Reports of clenching and grinding increased, during both waking and sleeping hours.  Symptoms appear to have affected women more than men; the general age range being between age 35-55.

If you are starting to notice things like headaches, jaw pain, facial pain, difficulty opening, pain when chewing, neck/shoulder pain and clicking or popping, make sure to consult your doctor.

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