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Teeth Grinding

Teeth GrindingOver 20 Million Americans Suffer From Stress-Related Disorder, Says Tufts Expert.

Boston [02.08.01] Millions of Americans wake up with neck pains, headaches and cracked teeth, thanks to bruxism -- a sleep disorder more commonly known as "teeth grinding."

"If you clench your teeth at night, there's no food between the teeth to act as a shock absorber, and the force goes up to almost 250 pounds of force," Tufts' Dr. Noshir Mehta told Boston's NewsCenter 5.

"People complain about stiffness in the neck when they wake up in the morning; they complain about pain in the neck and headaches emanating from the back of the neck."

Long believed to be a stress-related health problem, the Tufts dentist said teeth grinding is actually considered to be a sleep disorder.

But many of the treatments for the problem -- including medications for stress relaxation -- are aimed at reducing stress, Mehta said.

According to the Chicago Tribune: "Mehta, director of the Gelb Orofacial Pain Center at Tufts University's School of Dental Medicine in Boston, says you can control the tension that underlies most [teeth grinding] cases by avoiding chewy foods and gum, the flavor enhancer MSG and sodium nitrite, a preservative in deli meats and hot dogs. You should also cut out sources of caffeine, which disrupt muscle relaxation."

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