Dentists Warn that Stress Caused by Financial Worries leading to Increased Levels of Teeth Grinding

 

Irish Dental AssociationThis article is produced by the Irish Dental Association and may be viewed in full on their website, www.dentist.ie.

Irish dentists have warned that they are encountering more and more cases of teeth grinding among their patients.

Dentists believe that the increased levels of bruxism – the medical name for teeth grinding – are due to stress brought on by patients’ financial worries.

Experts believe one in five people will grind their teeth at some time, most commonly at night but dentists here say they are seeing numbers far in excess of that in many surgeries.

The symptoms of bruxism include; headaches, damage to teeth, earaches, and mouth and jaw pain.

Dr Dermot Canavan of the Irish Dental Association says the condition is often linked to anxiety and stress, as well as excessive smoking, alcohol use and the consumption of too much coffee.

“While we don’t have exact figures I know from my own practise and from talking to other dentists that there has been a substantial increase in the number of patients suffering from this condition. From talking to patients it is clear many are facing severe financial pressures” Dr Canavan said.

He pointed out that recreational drug use, particularly amphetamines, cocaine and ectasy, are also believed to lead to increased clenching and grinding activity and this can cause an increase in tooth wear up to eight times greater than that seen in other bruxers.

“Stress and drug use are a dangerous combination at the best of times but people often do not realise the effect this can have on their dental health not to mind their mental health. If people are suffering from any of the symptoms outlined above then not only should they see their medical doctor but also they should visit their dentist for a check up as soon as possible as bruxism can cause long term damage. There are a variety of treatments available including splints and fitted mouth guards, but damaged teeth may need to be restored.” Dr Canavan concluded.

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