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Stress may cause dental health problems
Updated: 11/10/2008 11:30:30 PM
 

Stress may cause dental health problems Stress has been proven to have a number of negative effects on health, but a new problem is arising as the country becomes more and more stressed - cracked teeth.

Dentists say jaw clenching and teeth grinding is on the rise, possibly a result of the stress of modern life, resulting in anything from ligament damage to cracked teeth or teeth so worn down they need crowns.

Although the American Dental Association does not keep statistics on the problem, doctors say it affects a large percentage of their patients.

"I could probably find evidence of grinding or clenching on almost everybody who comes in," Seattle dentist Dr. Michael Harris told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The typical course of action for someone suffering from grinding is to wear a mouth guard, typically during sleep. But some aggressive gnashers can bite through the guard, which can be expensive at $400 apiece and often not covered by dental insurance.

According to the National Institutes of Health, teeth grinding, also called bruxism, can cause depression, eating disorders, insomnia and temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ). The NIH suggests reducing stress levels and practicing anxiety management to deal with bruxism.
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