Teeth Grinding during the Credit Crunch

30 March 2009

Plummeting house prices, a sinking economy and high unemployment are causing a lot of people stress at the moment. An uncertain future can cause some to lie awake at night grinding their teeth, eventually costing them a fortune at the dentists. Dentists in America have reported massive increases in teeth grinding and clenching since the global economic downturn shook up the financial markets. Stress is thought to be the main cause of teeth grinding and clenching and results in worn, chipped teeth, tender gums, headaches, jaw pain, neck ache and even muscle spasms.





With most people feeling quite cash-strapped at the moment, the chances are many of the people who need dental attention will skip the dentist to save money, which will further degenerate the state of their teeth and cost them more money in the long term. Many people grind their teeth while sleeping, completely unaware that they are doing it. Family members lie awake at night listening to the grinding, teeth end up flat, jaws end up sore and tense and headaches and migraines ensue.

Teeth grinding is also known as bruxism and is thought to happen when teeth don’t line up properly. Having a good bite (or ‘occlusion’) is important for chewing purposes. We have an impulse to develop a perfect bite and children often brux their teeth in order to grind them into occlusion. Bruxism is said to be connected to emotional and psychological problems, so those who experience stress tend to brux more. Students tend to grind their teeth during exams, as do those experiencing financial difficulty.

Luckily there are effective treatments for bruxism, so sleepless nights, flattened teeth and soft food are not necessarily your destiny. Recognising your tooth grinding problem is the first step towards correction. Regular dental checks are essential in order for your dentist to notice any unusual wear on your teeth. Often it is only friends and relatives who make people realise that they are grinding their teeth all night long.

Bruxism is treated with muscular therapy to help patients relax, and the bite can be corrected by onlays, crowns and fillings. If those treatments are ineffective, you may be fitted with a splint or toothguard, which is worn around the jaw at night. The splint works by making the pressure in the mouth even; the jaw feels fine so the natural impulse to brux is gone. It also creates a physical barrier to stop tooth grinding happening.


One Response to “Teeth Grinding during the Credit Crunch”

  1. Dave Says:

    Hi There.

    If you are “bruxing”, you might find this helpful:

    TotalGard does a nice job breaking down what bruxism and teeth grinding are all about! You can learn more by visiting: http://www.totalgard.com/bruxism.html .. this should give everyone a nice background! I purchased a night guard from this company and my bruxism has subsided to date!

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