As the stresses of modern life take their toll, more and more people are suffering the effects of tooth grinding and clenching; a condition known as bruxism, which typically occurs at night-time, making it very difficult to treat. According to the British Dental Association around 10% of the population are currently dealing with this problem and those numbers are reportedly on the rise.
In an interview with the Express, orthodontic specialist Shivani Patel – a London-based dentist – said that ‘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.’ Mr Patel explained that any worries that have gone ignored during the day often come to the forefront while we are sleeping and these can manifest themselves in nocturnal grinding and clenching of the jaw. He added that this problem can lead to pain in the jaw, headaches, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction – a condition that sees the jaw muscles work incorrectly.
Many people may not know that this is a problem until their dentist notices that the teeth are looking worn, as Mr Patel explained ‘we often don’t discover it until the patient has an appointment for something else.’
Mouth guards are typically used to protect the teeth but this method of treatment is not going to get rid of the grinding itself; Mr Patel suggests relaxation techniques – such as yoga – to treat the condition if it is related to stress.