OBJECTIVE: Sleep bruxism can have a significant effect on the patient's quality of life. It may also be associated with a number of disorders. However, little is known about the epidemiology of sleep bruxism and its risk factors in the general population. DESIGN: Cross-sectional telephone survey using the Sleep-EVAL knowledge based system. SETTINGS: Representative samples of three general populations (United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy) consisting of 158 million inhabitants. PARTICIPANTS: Thirteen thousand fifty-seven subjects aged > or = 15 years (United Kingdom, 4,972 subjects; Germany, 4,115 subjects; and Italy, 3,970 subjects). INTERVENTION: None. MEASUREMENTS: Clinical questionnaire on bruxism (using the International Classification of Sleep Disorders [ICSD] minimal set of criteria) with an investigation of associated pathologies (ie, sleep, breathing disorders, and psychiatric and neurologic pathologies). RESULTS: Grinding of teeth during sleep occurring at least weekly was reported by 8.2% of the subjects, and significant consequences from teeth grinding during sleep (ie, muscular discomfort on awakening, disturbing tooth grinding, or necessity of dental work) were found in half of these subjects. Moreover, 4.4% of the population fulfilled the criteria of ICSD sleep bruxism diagnosis. Finally, subjects with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (odds ratio [OR], 1.8), loud snorers (OR, 1.4), subjects with moderate daytime sleepiness (OR, 1.3), heavy alcohol drinkers (OR, 1.8), caffeine drinkers (OR, 1.4), smokers (OR, 1.3), subjects with a highly stressful life (OR, 1.3), and those with anxiety (OR, 1.3) are at higher risk of reporting sleep bruxism. CONCLUSIONS: Sleep bruxism is common in the general population and represents the third most frequent parasomnia. It has numerous consequences, which are not limited to dental or muscular problems. Among the associated risk factors, patients with anxiety and sleep-disordered breathing have a higher number of risk factors for sleep bruxism, and this must raise concerns about the future of these individuals. An educational effort to raise the awareness of dentists and physicians about this pathology is necessary.
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