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Stress symptom: One in ten Germans grinds their teeth
One in ten German citizens grind their teeth, according to a recent study commissioned by the Federal Dental Council's Statistical Yearbook. The stress symptom gnashing of teeth is not only nerve-racking for the partner who wants to sleep next to it, but also harmful for the teeth. According to surveys, women are the most affected.
Stress as the cause of teeth grinding
The teeth grind, rub against each other and continuously press together. According to German dentists, increasing stress has a negative impact on dental health and the jaw. About one in ten patients grind their teeth. Women are primarily affected by the crunch, as stated in the current statistical yearbook of the German Dental Association. Dentists suspect that the cause of the symptom is increasing stress at work and in the family, because tooth grinding occurs much more often today than was the case earlier, the doctors said on Thursday. The crunching, which mainly occurs at night, can cause lasting damage to the jaw if it is under constant stress.
15 percent of women are affected
For the evaluation, the Chamber of Dentists interviewed about 1,600 dentists in Germany about patient complaints. Around 80 percent of dentists said they have seen an increase in crunching in the past. About 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men suffered from grinding their teeth. The diagnosis is relatively simple: A dentist can immediately tell from the abrasion of the molars whether a patient grinds his teeth regularly at night or only occasionally subconsciously grabs and rubs his teeth. According to the dentists' analysis, the largest group of patients was the 35 to 45 year olds.
Long-lasting and violent grinding of the teeth is an independent complaint and is referred to in specialist medicine as "bruxism". The main cause is stress and psychosomatic background disorders. Other favorable risk factors are sleep disorders, smoking, alcohol consumption, anxiety and caffeine. Due to the permanent grinding of the teeth, the teeth can wear out, the tooth holder can wear out and the jaw joint can be damaged. However, the crunching also tensions other muscles that are responsible for head posture, for example. This can cause headaches, dizziness and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). In severe cases, some people cannot open their mouths fully. In dentistry, patients are usually prescribed bite splints. Alternatively, treatment approaches such as psychotherapy, hypnotherapy or biofeedback are used to treat the background disease. The yearbook of the Federal Chamber of Dentists contains around 200 pages of facts about the health behavior of Germans, the health system and information about dental care. The new 2010/2011 edition was published in mid-November this year. (sb)
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