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July 29 2010

Bad Economy Has Us Grinding Our Teeth

Economic woes caused by the recession have increased the number of people who grind their teeth. This was revealed by British doctors and cosmetic dentist Cleveland who said that thousands of patients flock to their offices for this condition that can destruct teeth. 

“The Bruxism Association, a non-profit organization set up to support people with the disorder, has fielded around 200 enquiries every day from sufferers in the past three months. This represents a 60 pct increase in need for their services compared to last year,’ according to Murray Wardrop of the Telegraph.Co.UK. 

“Sales of mouth guards, which can be worn at night to prevent tooth damage from grinding, have also soared by 50 percent since December,” he added. 

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Presently, over two million people in Britain have no work. The stress caused by unemployment is believed to be a factor in bruxism – the medical term for grinding, clenching or gnashing of teeth.  

“There’s very solid evidence that stress is one key cause of people grinding their teeth. hence one would expect that during a recession, when people are worried about losing their jobs or their homes, that you might see an increase in the problem,” said Professor David Bartlett, head of prosthodontics at King’s College London’s Dental Institute. 

Cosmetic dentistry Cleveland said the condition affects both adults and children and may be loud enough to wake up your partner. Other symptoms are chipped, flattened or worn teeth, sensitive teeth, jaw pain, earache or headache.  

Bruxism is commonly triggered by anxiety, tension, stress, suppressed anger or frustration. It can take place during the day or night – a condition known as sleep bruxism. In mild cases, no treatment is required. Severe cases can lead to jaw disorders and other complications. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that they have this problem until their teeth have been damaged.  

“It can be a very serious condition if left untreated and is sure the most destructive element of dentistry.  When people clench and grind their teeth, the fury they impact can be huge but they might not be aware of the damage they are causing. They can wear right through teeth or end up destroying fillings and crowns. I have witnessed patients who have ground through metal fillings in the space of just two weeks,” Bartlett explained. 

Depending on the cause, bruxism is treated by means of stress management, relaxation techniques or the use of mouth guards to protect teeth. Medications are sometimes prescribed but they aren’t very effective.