Bruxing – Teeth Clenching – The Nightly Grind
As reported by Michael Winerip the New York Times, dentists throughout the country are seeing a significant increase in grinding, especially among middle-aged men. Typically, dentists treat more women than men for grinding, but now men are fast catching up.
What’s taking its toll on these men, according to sources cited in the article, is the stress of the recession and its accompanying problems. Owners of companies, for example, have had to deal with shrinking business, significant layoffs, and reduction in income – Stress with a capital S.
Most people aren’t aware that they’re grinding their teeth. It’s an unconscious behavior that often takes place during sleep. They become aware of the problem only when they notice worn-down, chipped or broken teeth. Other symptoms include headaches first thing in the morning, biting your tongue, painful mouth and not sleeping well.
“The pressure people put on themselves even while asleep is painful,” the article notes. “Normal chewing places 68 pounds of pressure per square inch on the back teeth; intentionally clenching your teeth places 150 pounds of pressure; grinding unconsciously at night places 900 pounds of pressure.” That’s more pressure on your teeth in one night than in an entire month of normal wear.
If you suspect that you’re grinding your teeth, dentists can help you take remedial action by making a customized night guard to wear during sleep. Other corrective work may be recommended. Speak with your dentist and take the “grind” out of your life!