Findings from a new study of more than 3,000 people suggest that gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is linked with temporomandibular disorder (TMD), with researchers suggesting somatisation, anxiety and undermined sleep mediate this association.
Researchers examined data on 1,522 adult patients with chronic TMD and 1,522 matched controls seeking consultation for other dental diseases at two hospitals in China. A total of 132 participants with TMD and 61 controls were found to have GERD.
The researchers found GERD was a significant risk factor for TMD (odds ratio [OR] 2.74; 95% CI 1.88-3.98). Participants with a longer history of GERD had a higher risk of TMD than those with a shorter history. Somatisation, anxiety and undermined sleep mediated 14 per cent, 11 per cent and 10 per cent of the association between TMD and GERD, respectively.
Presenting the findings in the CMAJ, the authors say physicians need to be aware of the association and consider multidisciplinary management programmes to help patients with chronic painful TMD. "Patients with both chronic TMD and reflux symptoms may be underdiagnosed, resulting in deferred effective treatment and a prolonged disease course," they added.