Recession Stress Gives Rise to Teeth Grinding

And it's not just adults who are stressed enough to ruin their teeth, said Harms. Children, too, have been known to grind down their baby teeth.

"There is some thought that ear infections and colds can cause kids to grind their teeth," she said, as children may deal with the pain by clenching or grinding teeth.

To Cure Grinding, Dentists Suggest Relaxing

Rosen said that because stress causes most of all grinding, the only real way to cure it is to reduce the stress in your life. She suggests using exercise, meditation and therapy.

Other alternatives include mouth guards that are made to prevent night grinding.

"Night guards do protect the teeth and put the jaw in the good position while the person grinds," said The TMJ & Facial Pain Institute's Menschel, who also recommends relaxation therapy and even hypnosis.

The mouth guard doesn't cure the grinding, but it does protect teeth and helps relax jaw muscles, said Rosen. It retrains them to be more relaxed, and when you're grinding it's enamel on the guard -- not enamel on enamel.

Rosen suggests getting one custom made because it will work better.

If that's too expensive, then over-the-counter mouth guards are the best bet. They are designed so that you boil them at home and bite into them, customizing them yourself, she said.

Rosen said people who use that alternative should let their dentists check their mouth guards.

"I also tell people to avoid hard, crunchy foods -- and no gum. You want to give your jaw muscles a break. You can also use warm compresses long the jaw muscle, which can help alleviate inflammation."

Harms said that many dentists who can't get their patients to stop grinding and clenching will adjust the patients' bite to decrease the impact on their teeth.

"It's a very hard habit to break," said Harms.

Sophie says that her grinding problem has opened her eyes to how stressed she actually is and just how hard it is to stop.

"It's crazy to think that I'm that stressed," said Sophie. "I can't even control it -- especially if I'm doing it at night I'm doing damage to myself but I don't even realize it. It's frustrating."

LaRosa says her doctor's advice was nearly impossible to follow.

"He told me to avoid stress," she said, laughing.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8134554. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8134554. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8134554. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8134554. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8134554. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8134554. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8134554. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8134554. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8134554.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Year In Pictures
Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview.
Ed Araquel/Sony/Columbia Pictures/AP Photo
PHOTO: Patrick Crawford is pictured in this photo from his Facebook page.
Meteorologist Patrick Crawford KCEN/Facebook
PHOTO: George Stinney Jr., the youngest person ever executed in South Carolina, in 1944, is seen in this undated file photo.
South Carolina Department of Archives and History/AP Photo