Is Stress Causing You To Grind Your Teeth?

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The British Dental Association estimates that 10 per cent of people in the UK grind their teeth and many dentists across the country have reported an increase in the number of patients presenting symptoms of bruxism, the medical name for teeth grinding.

Shivani Patel, a specialist orthodontist from Elleven Dental, London, said that there has been an increase of around 30 per cent in the number of patients suffering from the effects of bruxism in the last five years and one contributing factor is stress.

Dr Patel explained that many patients suffer from work-related stress and other factors, such as financial issues and relationship strain, can also cause people’s minds to be very active during sleep, which increases the risk of teeth grinding and clenching. Disrupted sleep eventually takes its toll and can have a very negative impact on general health and wellbeing. Tooth grinding can also contribute to headaches, earache and temporomandibular joint disorder, which affects the joint, which connects the lower jaw to the skull.

Dr Patel explained that stress management techniques, such as yoga, exercise and hypnosis, can benefit those affected by anxiety and stress, and there are also dental treatments, such as night guards, available. Night guards are similar to mouth guards that are worn during contact sports and they help to prevent the teeth from touching each other during sleep.

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