Northern Ireland

Teeth grinding linked to Ireland's economic pain

Teeth grinding

Irish dentists believe a sharp rise in the number of patients grinding their teeth is linked to the country's financial crisis.

Stress brought on by money worries has led to an increase in the levels of bruxism - the medical term for teeth grinding.

Dr Dermot Canavan of the Irish Dental Association said the condition was often linked to anxiety and stress, as well as excessive smoking, alcohol use and drinking too much coffee.

"While we don't have exact figures I know from my own practice and from talking to other dentists that there has been a substantial increase in the number of patients suffering from this condition," he said.

"From talking to patients it is clear that many are facing severe financial pressures."

Experts believe one in five people will grind their teeth at some time, most commonly at night, but dentists in the Republic of Ireland said they were seeing numbers far in excess of that in many surgeries.

The symptoms of bruxism include headaches, tooth damage, earaches, and mouth and jaw pain.

The Republic of Ireland's economy has felt the brunt of the international financial crisis. As a result, the government has cut back drastically on spending and raised taxes.

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