According to the British Dental Association, the grinding and clenching of teeth is a bad habit that affects 10% of the British population and some dentists are reporting that the condition – also known as Bruxism – is on the rise.
Bruxism is linked to a whole host of side effects which can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, yet most of the time sufferers do not even realise they are doing it.
Orthodontic specialist, Shivani Patel explains:
“We have seen an increase of 30% in teeth grinding problems compared to five years ago. Work-related stress is the most common reason, particularly for women.
“When we sleep any worries or concerns we have – even if only in our subconscious mind – can lead to clenching, nocturnal grinding and in some cases temporomandibular joint dysfunction (pain and dysfunction of the jaw muscles).”
Other side effects of Bruxism include headaches, earache, tooth discolouration, damage to teeth and in some cases, it can even change face shape. This occurs when persistent grinding and clenching wears down the teeth and causes the nose and chin to move closer together.
Recommended treatment tends to include mouth guards or bite guards that are supplied by a dentist. These are custom made to fit the patient’s mouth and must be worn at night.
“They will not necessarily eradicate the grinding problem completely,” says Shivani, “however they can preserve the longevity of the teeth.”
Other recommended treatment is relaxation therapies such as yoga and hypnotherapy which can help if the Bruxism is stress-related. To find out more, please see our hypnotherapy for bruxism page.
View and comment on the original Daily Express article.