About 20% of the population grind their teeth so badly that not only do they wear away the enamel they also suffer from headaches, insomnia and jaw damage.
Bruxism, the medical name for this condition often occurs during sleep so sufferers can be quite unaware they are doing it. However many of us also grind our teeth whilst awake due to the daily stress and strains of life. The problem is also that we are still unaware of it even whilst we are awake.
Gum guards are available from your dentist who can have one made up that protects the teeth during sleep and stops the enamel being damaged.
Measuring the scope of the problem in an individual usually meant spending time at a sleep clinic but now researchers at the University of Florida have developed a smart gum shield loaded with sensors that can do that in the patient’s own home.
The analysis measures the force and which teeth are receiving most pressure, this helps in developing behaviour modification treatments to combat it. It’s strength is that it can be used even after treatment in the sleep centre so that there is a higher chance of sustaining modified behaviours.