Is Economy causing teeth grinding?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - One study is blaming the increase of Americans teeth grinding on the frazzled economy. However, we check with a local dentist to see if he's also pointing fingers at the recession for the up tick in a condition called Bruxism.

"Could that be a factor that just makes it worse..yes it could be but there are so many factors," says Todd Higginbotham, DDS with Higginbotham Family Dental.

What ever the cause for the reported increase in teeth clenchers there is hope!

Working in the dental field herself Michelle Schmidt once suffered from a severe case of Bruxism.

Hers was caused by the shape of her jaw and it would worsen with any stress.

"Mine was a hard case. the splint work was a year and by the time we did all the crown work it was another year," says Michelle.

She says she is glad those days are behind her.

"I was in a lot of pain so it was worth it," says Michelle.

Here is a list of some of the signs of Bruxism:

1) headaches

2) muscle pain

3) chipped teeth

The first step to addressing it:

1) Talk to a dentist.

2) Wear a night guard as it will likely stop you from destroying your teeth. Your dentist can make you one or most local stores carry in-expensive guards.

3) Exercising can help too. Because exercising eventually fosters relaxation it could give you a bit of relief from your teeth grinding.

4) Jaw exercises are another option. Just move your jaw from side to side. Then alternate between exaggerated "OOH" and "EE" facial expressions.

5) says not to chew gum. They say the repetitive chewing motion is similar to the jaw during Bruxism and it encourages it.

6) Also, says to avoid alcohol and drinks containing caffeine. They say it agitates the body in to movement.