Temporomandibular Disorders and Bruxism among Sex Workers—A Cross Sectional Study

Ilana Eli, Adi Zigler-Garburg, Efraim Winocur, Pessia Friedman-Rubin, Tamar Shalev-Antsel, Shifra Levartovsky, Alona Emodi-Perlman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Sex workers are a highly underprivileged population which is present all around the world. Sex work is associated with negative social stigma which affects all aspects of the sex workers’ lives including healthcare, service providers and police. The stigma may result in increased stress, mental health problems, feelings of isolation and social exclusion. In the present study, 36 sex workers (SW) and 304 subjects from the general population in Israel (GP) were evaluated for the presence of bruxism and Temporomandibular disorders (TMD), with the use of Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (DC/TMD- Axis I). When compared to the general population, sex workers presented larger maximal assisted mouth opening and higher prevalence of the following TMD diagnoses: Disc displacement with reduction, Myalgia, Myofascial pain with referral, Arthralgia (left and right) and Headache attributed to TMD. The odds of sex workers suffering from one of these diagnoses were twice to five times higher than those of the general population. The study shows that health problems of sex workers go beyond venereal diseases, HIV and mental disorders which are commonly studied. Oral health, TMD and oral parafunctions are some of the additional health issues that should be addressed and explored in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6622
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • DC/TMD
  • bruxism
  • sex workers
  • temporomandibular disorders (TMD)


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