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Pandemic Stress Has More Americans Grinding Their Teeth

MONDAY, March 8, 2021 -- Lockdowns have you stressed? The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that more people are grinding their teeth as they try to cope with the pressures of the pandemic.

An ADA Health Policy Institute survey of dentists found that 70% of respondents said they've seen an increase in the number of patients with teeth grinding and clenching, which are often linked to stress. That's up from the fall, when 60% of dentists reported an increase in teeth grinding and clenching among patients.

"Our polling has served as a barometer for pandemic stress affecting patients and communities seen through the eyes of dentists," said Marko Vujicic, chief economist and vice president of the institute.

"The increase over time suggests stress-related conditions have become substantially more prevalent since the onset of COVID-19," Vujicic said in an ADA news release.

The new survey also found that just over 60% of dentists reported an increase in other stress-related dental problems such as chipped and cracked teeth, and temporomandibular joint disorder-linked symptoms, such as headaches and jaw pain.

According to Marcelo Araujo, the ADA's chief science officer, "As the pandemic continues, dentists are seeing stress-related dental conditions more and more. It's more important than ever for people to maintain their dental health, including seeing the dentist regularly to address any issues that could have long-term impact."

There have been suggestions that frequent mask-wearing may harm dental health and cause so-called "mask mouth," but the new survey didn't find any significant changes in the rates of conditions such as bad breath and dry mouth since the start of the pandemic.

© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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