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Stress- related teeth grinding 'on the up'

Posted by info on July 21, 2014 at 6:35 AM

The number of people suffering from bruxism - which is caused by grinding the teeth over a long-term period - have increased significantly since 2009, the British Dental Association (BDA) has discovered.


During the last five years, dentists have seen a 30 per cent rise in patients reporting bruxism symptoms.


It is thought that the majority of these cases are related to stress, usually from pressure at work, while other contributing factors include money worries and relationship woes.


The BDA estimates that approximately ten per cent of the UK's population regularly grinds their teeth. However, most of these people do it without even realising.


Bruxism sufferers often don't even know they have the condition until a partner points out they are doing it in their sleep or until they begin to experience pain.


Ms Patel said: "When we sleep, any worries or concerns we have - even if only in our subconscious mind - can lead to clenching and nocturnal grinding."


Symptoms of the condition include a shortening of the back teeth due to excessive friction, the wearing away of enamel and an increased risk of chipping due to upper teeth becoming more angled.


Patients can also suffer from pain when they speak, chew, yawn and move their jaws in other ways. Headaches and earache are common in those with bruxism, as well as temporomandibular joint disorder, which affects the point where the skull and lower jaw connect.


Worryingly, continued grinding can change the shape of a person's face forever as it leads to increased use of the masseter muscles at the back of the lower jaw bone. Over time, this can make the face wider than it originally was.


Disrupted sleep due to grinding can have a negative impact on health too, as it can affect a person's general wellbeing.

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