More than 70% of dentists surveyed by the ADA Health Policy Institute are seeing an increase of patients experiencing teeth grinding and clenching, conditions often associated with stress. This is an increase from ADA data released in the fall showing just under 60% of dentists seeing an increase in these cases among their patients.
“Our polling has served as a barometer for pandemic stress affecting patients and communities seen through the eyes of dentists,” said Marko Vujicic, PhD, chief economist and vice president of the ADA Health Policy Institute. “The increase over time suggests stress-related conditions have become substantially more prevalent since the onset of COVID-19.”
The survey also found that a little more than 60% of dentists saw an increase in other stress-related dental conditions including chipped and cracked teeth and temporomandibular joint disorder symptoms such as headaches and jaw pain.
“As the pandemic continues, dentists are seeing stress-related dental conditions ore and more,” said ADA chief science officer Marcelo Araujo, DDS, MS, PhD. “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.”
Despite speculation from recent news reports that frequent mask-wearing may impact dental health and cause “mask mouth,” the ADA said, the survey found no meaningful change in the prevalence reported for conditions such as bad breath and dry mouth compared to before the pandemic.