Healthy living

Stress linked to teeth grinding

Daily work stress bad for teeth

People who are stressed seem more likely to grind their teeth at night - known as bruxism - research has found.

Maria Giraki, from Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf who led the study said: “Bruxing can lead to abrasive tooth wear, looseness and sensitivity of teeth, and growth and pain in the muscles responsible for chewing.

"Its causes are still relatively unknown, but stress has been implicated. We aimed to investigate whether different stress-factors, and different coping strategies, were more or less associated with these bruxism symptoms”.

The scientists studied teeth grinding or in 69 people, 48 of whom were described as "bruxers." Tooth grinding was measured by thin plates that were placed in the volunteers mouths overnight, while stress and coping techniques were assessed by questionnaires.

They found that bruxing was not associated with age, sex or education level, but was more common in people who claimed to experience daily stress and trouble at work.

Dr Giraki said: “Our data support the assumption that people with the most problematic grinding do not seem to be able to deal with stress in an adequate way.

"They seem to prefer negative coping strategies like ‘escape’. This, in general, increases the feeling of stress, instead of looking at the stressor in a positive way”.

The research is published in the online journal Head and Face Medicine

This article was published on Fri 5 March 2010

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