Why some people grind their teeth
Social anxiety could increase the risk of teeth grinding, according to a new study.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that individuals with social anxiety are at an increased risk of tooth erosion, jaw pain and bruxism. Teeth grinding can cause tooth wear and fractures, as well as, jaw pain.
“This is not a dental problem, but one with clear dental consequences,” said Dr. Ephraim Winocur, study author in a news release. “If we are aware then we can bring it into consciousness. Psychiatrists can identify patients predisposed to bruxism and can try to help prevent it and dental experts will immediately know what to treat.”
Researchers assessed 75 men and women in their early 30s using questionnaires.
Within the group, 40 people had social phobia characterized by excessive fear in social situations. Others didn’t have any social phobia. During the assessment, moderate to severe dental wear was found in 42.1 percent of the social phobia subjects and 28.6 percent of the control group. Symptoms of bruxism were found in 42.5 percent of social phobia patients, and 3 percent of the control group.
“Interaction with people seems to be necessary to trigger bruxism in socially anxious people,” Dr. Winocur said. “By treating social anxiety, we will be able to treat bruxism as well.”
Dr. Winocur is currently researching the effect of post-traumatic stress disorders on bruxism.
According to the Bruxism Association, bruxism affects 8 to 10 percent of the population.
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