Fecha de publicación: 30/05/2012
Translated by Basque Research.
A stress situation activates numerous areas of the brain which secrete multiple neurotransmitters, dopamine being one of these and, according to the director of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) research team, Dr Francisco Gómez, this latest research “involves the regulation of emotions in situations of anguish and anxiety, besides being highly involved in the appearance of those repetitive oral behaviour patterns (clenching of teeth, chewing gum or biting nails, amongst others) which we exhibit automatically or unconsciously in situations of high emotional stress”. That is, the research confirms that there exists a significant association between the secretion of dopamine in the brain and bruxist type behaviour (clenching of teeth), triggered by a stress situation.
“The relationship between non-functional masticatory activity and central dopamine in stressed rats? is the name of the paper, winner of the `Juan Luis Ferrer´ award from the Spanish Society for Craneomandibular Dysfunction and Orofacial Pain. The research work was carried out in collaboration with the following lecturers and researchers: Francisco Gómez from the Department of Stomatology, Jorge Ortega from the Department of Pharmacology, Igor Horrillo and Javier Meana from the Faculty of Medicine and Odontology at the UPV/EHU. The article, while indicating that daytime bruxism (clenching of teeth), may be beneficial for the organism “as a path for releasing emotional stress and thus attenuating its consequences for the brain”, points out that this does not take away from the fact that it can be “a very harmful oral habit (excessive wear on the teeth, periodontal illness, masticatory myalgias and problems in the articulation of the jaw), affecting up to 20% of the population”.
The award-winning research, a continuation of other work from the UPV/EHU research team, has also had the collaboration of the Mental Health Network Biomedical Research Centre (Spanish acronym CIBERSAM), and has presented experimental data on rodents that support this hypothesis that the bruxist habit could be “a mechanism of emotional release” which persons “develop unconsciously in order to alleviate, in part, the consequences of stress or anxiety for the organism”.