Image by Victor Tangermann

Americans are having a rough time during the pandemic, with anxiety and other mental disorders at an all time high.

And all the stress is leading to far more teeth grinding, resulting in a huge uptick in jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, and migraines and cracked teeth, according to a recent New York Times piece by Manhattan-based dentist and prosthodontist Tammy Chen.

Chen’s dental practice is busier than ever, she wrote, despite the lockdowns and quarantine measures.

“I’ve seen more tooth fractures in the last six weeks than in the previous six years,” Chen recalled telling a friend.

The fractures and jaw pain are likely a complex consequence of a massive increase in societal stress about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. That stress can often lead to a clenched jaw and teeth grinding, which, if left unchecked, can result in permanent damage.

Adding to the problem, according to Chen, could be awkward body positions while working from home, which could be leading to pinched nerves in the jaw of many patients.

Piling on, she suspects, could also be a lack of restorative sleep. Insomnia can lead to clenched jaws and more pain and tooth damage.

To remedy this, Chen suggests to try to be more aware of the fact that your jaw should be relaxed. She also suggests wearing night guards or retainers, if you have one, during the day.

Finally, a proper work station could work wonders in ensuring that your jaw isn’t in an awkward position for many hours during the day.