Kitchener-Waterloo

Headaches, toothaches could be result of stress-induced teeth grinding: dentist

Waterloo dentist Aadil Shamji says more patients have come to him with headaches and toothaches during the pandemic. He believes teeth-grinding is often to blame.

Dr. Aadil Shamji says more patients have come to him with joint, muscle and tooth aches during COVID

Headaches, joint pain, ear pain. If you've noticed these symptoms during the pandemic, Waterloo dentist Dr. Aadil Shamji says it could be because you're grinding your teeth. (Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images)

If you've noticed more headaches, ear aches or joint pain during the pandemic, a Waterloo dentist says teeth grinding could be to blame. 

Since the first lockdown in March, Dr. Aadil Shamji says more patients have come to him with symptoms of joint pain, muscle pain and tooth aches.

"We were getting more and more patients presenting these symptoms and it all came down to grinding," said Shamji, who owns the Trillium Dental Centre in Waterloo, Ont. 

Shamji said that it could be tied to people feeling more tense during the pandemic.

"Everyone has been hit with a different level of stress and one of the ways our body reacts is by grinding our teeth," he adds.

Shamji said other staff and colleagues in the industry have also noticed an uptick of teeth-grinding among patients. He said even though he mainly sees it among adult patients, it can also happen in kids. 

Why grinding your teeth is bad

Grinding your teeth, whether the habit is severe or mild, can cause several problems, Shamji said.

"When you grind tooth on tooth, you can break your teeth, you can fracture them, you can wear them down and cause sensitivity," he said.

"But a lot of people are complaining about those headaches, earaches. They are not sure what's going on."

Being aware of the problem is a good first step, Shamji said. It's also a good idea to check in with your dentist, he said. 

A common solution is a night guard, which can also be used during the daytime if you don't have to talk on the phone much, he said.

"It takes the pressure of the teeth, the muscle and the joints," he said. 

Warm compresses, massage and eating softer foods can also help take the pressure off, he said.

Dr. Aadil Shamji, owner of Waterloo's Trillium Dental Centre, says more patients are coming to him with headaches and toothaches. He thinks teeth grinding is the culprit. 5:52

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