Dentist explains why ‘jaw clenching’ has become more prevalent during COVID-19

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Local dentists’ offices are seeing an influx of patients as they reopen during the pandemic. One issue they are seeing in their patients is “jaw clenching” which is caused by stress.

Stress levels are high for many dealing with the uncertainty of life during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. For many that stress manifests itself physically and has led some to their dentist.

 Daniel Bird, DDS of Crosstown Dental Group, said he is noticing more people are coming in with jaw and other related issues because of elevated stress levels during the COVID-19 era.

“All the things going on and people are just stressed,” Bird said. “One of the first things people do when they get stressed is clinch their teeth.”

Bird said it primarily happens at night while a person is sleeping, and most people do not know they are doing it. But when they wake up the evidence is there.

“We’ve seen lots of broken teeth, fractured teeth, broken crowns. A lot of people coming in with jaw pain. We’ve seen a lot of it,” Bird said.

That is why doctors say it is important for people to find a healthy outlet to relieve stress. They said one of the best ways to relieve stress is to enjoy the outdoors, while the weather is nice. At the same time, they said people should be mindful of keeping their distance and practicing good hygiene techniques to protect themselves against COVID-19.

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