What is the rate of incidence for teeth grinding (bruxism)?

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is very common. Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. The symptoms of teeth grinding include:
  • dull headaches
  • jaw soreness
  • teeth that are painful or loose
  • fractured teeth

Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep. In some cases, your dentist or physician may recommend taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime. If stress is the cause you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.

    Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is common in children, in fact, approximately 15 to 33 percent of children grind their teeth. Most children outgrow teeth grinding by early adolescence. Bruxism is less common among adults, but adults are more likely to suffer from chronic bruxism. 
    While teeth grinding (bruxism) has now been shown to affect over 40 million Americans, including adults and children, the exact rate of incidence is affected by the degree of stress an individual is experiencing. Increased stress has been shown to "fuel" the incidence of teeth grinding. Antidepressant drugs that inhibit serotonin uptake (SSRI), such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, have been shown to induce teeth grinding as a secondary effect as well. 

    For adults, the rate of incidence for teeth grinding is unknown. For many, it is an unconscious act that may never reach a level of severity or frequency that requires treatment. In children, it is believed that the rate of incidence is about 20 to 30 percent.

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.