Smile – sunshine is good for your teeth.

Truth Behind My Smile

The recession bites back with teeth grinding on the rise.

June 18, 2010

New reports reveal that our teeth are the latest victims of the global financial meltdown as teeth grinding, or Bruxism,is on the rise. Dentists claim they are seeing an increase of between 10 and 20 per cent of patients with symptom that range from ear ache to tooth loss and chronic headaches. The blame has been firmly laid at the door of financial doom, with increased stress and anxiety levels over job threats, interest rate increases and free falling house prices.
It seems beleaguered city workers are hardest hit by the increase, according to the importers of the MouthRight mouth-guard, who have seen a sharp rise in city postcodes on their order books.

Teeth grinding tends to happen at night when it can cause sleep disturbances for the sufferer and their long suffering partner. Many people report subconsciously clenching their jar throughout the day, particularly during stressful periods, often resulting in acute jaw pain and continual headaches.

The consequences for teeth are potentially serious. Continual grinding can wear down enamel and cause teeth to chip or crack. Fillings can become lose and fall out, and where teeth are severely worn down the bite is affected, causing long term problems for the jaw. Other physical side effects are stiff shoulders, exhaustion and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder which, put simply, is inflammation of the joint which connects the mandible to the skull.

So what’s to be done? It’s best to try and treat the symptoms at the same time as looking at the root cause of the problem. Special mouth guards will help reduce the effects of grinding, acting to prevent movement and protecting the teeth from damage. Learning to manage the stress that is causing the problem is essential. Experts recommend cutting back on stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Facial muscle relaxation exercises, meditation, yoga and deep breathing techniques can all help to reduce the anxiety that in turn leads to teeth grinding.

Botox™ is another treatment under review. The toxin, much loved by celebrities and best known for its use as a cosmetic treatment to ‘freeze foreheads’, is administered as an intramuscular injection and the paralytic effects is thought to last three to six months. Careful research is needed before choosing this route – look for a skilled practitioner with significant experience in lower face injecting and discuss safety issues before making your decision.

If the recession allows, you could take the high tech option with a bio-feedback gadget which teaches muscles to relax. But with prices heading up towards the £1000.00 mark, it’s a steep price to pay. After all if we had money to spare it’s likely all this tension induced grinding wouldn’t be a problem in the first place!

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