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A study, led by a German team, aimed to determine whether there is an association between stress-factors and sleep bruxism, or teeth grinding. Participants’ teeth grinding habits were tracked using bite plates for five consecutive nights, and their stress levels and stress coping techniques were measured using questionnaires. The results of the study showed that individuals who expressed higher levels of stress – such as stress at work, daily problems, or extreme fatigue – were more likely to be heavy teeth grinders. Furthermore, the findings showed an association between the way in which the participants dealt with stress and the intensity of the bruxism. In fact, heavy teeth grinders were more likely to use negative tactics to cope with stress, attempting to escape or ignore stress, for instance. The authors suggest that further research is needed to confirm and expand upon these findings, but the study gives enough ground for future investigation into the possible causal relationships between stress, stress-coping strategies and sleep bruxism.

Title: Correlation between stress, stress-coping and current sleep bruxism

Authors: Maria Giraki, Christine Schneider, Ralf Schäfer, Preeti Singh, Matthias Franz, Wolfgang HM Raab, Michelle A Ommerborn

Journal: Head & Face Medicine, 2010, 6:2