Tooth Talk with Brinkley Dental Group – Covid-19 and Stress

Well this is a headline that comes as no surprise to anybody. Covid-19 is causing stress. The Brinkley Team is pretty sure you won’t need any study to prove that this is true but nonetheless, studies have been undertaken and they, combined with anecdotal reports from both Doctors and Dentists alike, confirm what we already know to be true. That is, that many more people than in the past are experiencing tooth, mouth and jaw pain and significant headaches too. Is Covid stress impacting you?

It is a well-known fact that some people will express stress, even when they are sleeping. That can mean they sleep fitfully, or not at all. It might mean they experience periods of wakefulness and worry. It also often means, they are clenching their teeth while they sleep OR grinding their teeth. No matter the reasons why (and there are certainly many to choose from right now) the end result might mean increased headaches, more frequent migraines, poor oral health and even long term damage to teeth.

In fact, while we are suggesting much of our unconscious teeth clenching happens at night, the reality is that even daytime jaw clenching is commonplace, though it too, often happens without our even being aware of it. Daytime clenching also leads to oral facial pain and headaches. It’s fast becoming, for some folks, a 24 hour a day cycle of discomfort.

A study done in Israel and a later one in Poland found that it was often woman who suffered more from both TMD and Bruxism, in part due to the fact that during Covid related lockdowns it was more often women who became the primary caregivers for family. Women became teachers to children who were forced to stay home and it was women who had responsibility for the care of elderly family members too. Many gave up full and part time employment in order to take on these additional responsibilities. Added financial stress and emotional stress simply compounded any oral health care concerns. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, always known to be brought on by stress and anxiety, rose in the Israeli study from 35% (pre-pandemic) to over 47% and in those who already suffered – they reported an increase of more than 15% in terms of the severity of their pain.

For many of us around the world we are just now becoming more and more aware of the rise in mental health related issues due to Covid-19. Certainly, suffering from chronic headaches, facial pain, jaw pain and/or the damage caused from excessive bruxism, only adds to overall physical and mental health issues because it’s very hard to remain optimistic when you’re not feeling your best. If you are waking up with unexplained jaw pain or with headaches that happen for no apparent reason, it might be time to schedule an appointment with your oral health care provider. There are solutions. Contact the Brinkley Dental Team in Brampton to talk about your options. In the meantime, as always, we’ll leave you with this gentle reminder: “Don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and brush that smile!”