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Stress and Bruxism

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding is a medical condition characterized by clenching or grinding the upper and lower teeth. Bruxism usually occurs during sleep, which is called “sleep bruxism”. Bruxism is quite common in children, and usually affects 3 out of 10 children, and most children can outgrow their teeth grinding problems. However, there are some children who can’t outgrow their teeth grinding problems and it can still persist even during adult years.

Causes of Bruxism

Stress and Bruxism

The exact causative factor of teeth grinding or bruxism is not yet known up to the present time. Even after several studies and researches done on attempting to determine the exact cause or causes of teeth grinding, no one still knows what can really cause bruxism. However, even if the exact causative factor of bruxism is not known yet, there are some factors that can increase a person’s risk for teeth grinding, and usually these factors are psychosocial factors.

What is Stress

According to Mayo Clinic website ”Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever increasing demands of life.”. It is inevitable that all of us, at certain point in our lives, we will all be stressed. It is the normal physiological reaction of our body to quickly adapt a fight or flight response mode if our brain can sense threat or an impending danger, and that is when a person gets stressed. As the body perceives threat, there will be an increase release of adrenaline hormones and when threat will be gone, the body’s function will return back to the normal relaxed state. Not all people find a single situation to be stressful, it will greatly depend on the person on how he or she faces that certain situation, and whether he or she can effectively cope with the situation.

Stress and Bruxism

Studies and researches have shown that nearly 70% of teeth grinding cases during sleep (sleep bruxism) are significantly associated with stress. It has not been clearly defined why stress can cause sleep bruxism, but it is believed that stress can significantly affect a person’s quality of sleep and as a possible consequence, teeth grinding or bruxism can happen.

Effects of Stress to Health

Stress can’t only increase a person’s risk for teeth grinding, it can even increase a person’s risk for several different medical conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart diseases, and many more. Stress will not only increase a person’s risk for several medical diseases, it can also in fact aggravate present medical conditions, which can be detrimental to anyone’s health.