Sweaty armpits and clammy hands? Stuttering or biting your nails? Anxiety caused by stressful social situations happens to all of us. But now, you can add teeth grinding to the list of anxious behaviour.
Bruxism, better known as teeth grinding, can cause tooth wear, fractures and jaw pain. In a new study by Tel Aviv University researchers, published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, results showed that anxiety experienced in social circumstances elevates the risk of teeth grinding.
In a study of 75 men and women, researchers found moderate-to-severe dental wear in 42.1% of the social phobia subjects and 28.6% of controls. The rate of jaw play was 32.5% in the phobia group and 12.1% in controls. Symptoms of awake bruxism were reported by 42.5% of social phobia patients and by 3% of controls.
Researchers believe that these findings show that awake bruxism is not a dental problem, but rather psychiatric with dental consequences. With this knowledge, psychiatrists can identify patients predisposed to bruxism and try to help prevent it.
Hermesh, L. Schapir, S. Marom, R. Skopski, E. Barnea, A. Weizman, E. Winocur.Bruxism and oral parafunctional hyperactivity in social phobia outpatients.Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, 2015; 42 (2): 90