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Katie, known for her hectic and stressful lifestyle suffers from a little known condition called `bruxism`

When Katie Price, a.k.a glamour model, Jordon, flew to America to see her dentist recently, it was to have her teeth veneers fixed because they had become loose, and it was not the first time it had happened. Her Dentist in LA told her it was because she was clenching and grinding her teeth whilst sleeping. Katie, known for her hectic and stressful lifestyle suffers from a little known condition called `bruxism` which is the medical term for teeth clenching and grinding. Bruxism is thought to be caused by stress and it can wreak havoc with teeth and dental work. It can also cause other problems such as headaches and jaw joint pain.

Around 10 - 20% of the population will suffer from bruxism at any one time, but, like Katie, most of us will experience it at some point during our lifetime, usually when we are stressed. Experts are divided about what to do about it, but applying lifestyle changes and stress reduction techniques can help in many cases. However, some UK dentists will grind down teeth to get an even bite, based on the theory that bruxism is an attempt by the body to compensate for an imperfect bite. An increasing number of dentists frown upon the idea of grinding down healthy teeth to get them fitting together perfectly. Instead, they will usually fit a plastic mouth guard to be worn at night. Bruxism guards do not stop bruxism but they do protect teeth and dental work from damage that often results from clenching and grinding.

According to the Bruxism Association, bruxism can occur at any age, with the 35-55 age group more prone to the condition. Women seem to suffer from bruxism more than men, with one recent survey indicating a 70%-30% split.

Around half of the people who have been diagnosed with bruxism, found out from their dentist or GP. However, although dentists may spot the signs of bruxism when examining teeth, it is not always obvious or apparent. Bruxism is also not covered in the screening questionnaires that you are asked to fill in when visiting your dentist. This may go some way towards explaining why, according to a survey, around 43% of people with the condition carried out their own research and self diagnosis.

The UK is thought to be several years behind the US when it comes to dental matters. The lack of awareness and understanding of bruxism in the UK at both a professional and individual level compared to the US appears to support this. There are signs the UK is catching up though. This week (25th October 2010) sees the start of the first UK Bruxism Awareness Week which is sponsored by a company that makes custom dental guards for dentists. The initiative calls for dentists throughout the UK to open their doors to bruxism sufferers so that they can find out more about the condition and the destructive impact it is having on their teeth, dental work and general health.

Although custom made dental guards, which can cost up to £700 are the norm in the UK, the market is now following the US example by offering more convenient and affordable alternative pre-fabricated devices that the bruxism sufferer can easily fit themselves. Such devices are big business in the US, where a multi million dollar market has emerged over recent years. One of the leading dental guard manufacturers is now offering an adjustable, ready to wear bruxism dental guards in the UK. The SleepRight dental guard is an innovative device that does the same job as a custom guard for a fraction of the cost and without time off work for fitting. It is the only ready to wear bruxism dental guard in the UK to be CE certified and approved by the British Dental Health Foundation. To find out more, email the UK importers or call +44(0)845 299 7089 or visit SleepRight

The first 20 UK journalists contacting them by email during Bruxism Awareness Week will receive a free sample SleepRight dental guard. If you are not quick enough off the mark, don't worry. They are also giving away hundreds of other products from the SleepRight range over the next few weeks, including an innovative Nasal Breath Aid which will be launching in the UK market soon. You will receive further information when you contact them.

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