The stress and anxiety experienced by the general population during Covid-19 lockdown brought about a significant rise in facial and jaw pain, as well as jaw-clenching in the daytime and teeth-grinding at night, say researchers.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, also found that women suffered more from these symptoms more than men and that 35- to 55-year-olds suffered most.
“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, facing financial problems and often required to work from home under trying conditions,” said the researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel.
The study examined questionnaires that assessed the presence and possible worsening of these symptoms in the general population during the first Covid-19 lockdown, due to the national emergency and rise in anxiety levels.
The questionnaire was answered by a total of 1,800 respondents in Israel and Poland.
During Israel’s first lockdown, the general population exhibited a considerable rise in orofacial pain, as well as jaw-clenching in the daytime and teeth-grinding at night – physical symptoms often caused by stress and anxiety.
The prevalence of symptoms rose from about 35 per cent pre-pandemic to 47 per cent, the prevalence of jaw-clenching in the daytime rose from about 17 per cent to 32 per cent, and teeth-grinding at night rose from about 10 per cent to 36 per cent.
The findings showed that people who had suffered from these symptoms before the pandemic exhibited a rise of about 15 per cent in their severity.
Altogether a rise of 10 to 25 per cent was recorded in these symptoms, which often reflect emotional stress, the team noted.