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. The symptoms of bruxism include headaches, damage to teeth, earaches, and mouth and jaw pain.
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.
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.
Dr Canavan also pointed out that recreational drug use, particularly amphetamines, cocaine, and ecstasy, is 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.
“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.