Question 12 - 11th Grade English Language Arts and Literacy: Research Practice Test for the SBAC

A student plans to use the attached passage as one source for his expository essay about possible sources of headaches. Which of these would be the best source of credible information he might look at to include in his research?

Teeth Grinding Can Be A Real Headache

Did you know that if you suffer from nagging headaches – including migraines, tension headaches and behind-the-eye pain – your teeth could be the root of your problem? Involuntary and excessive clenching and grinding of the teeth (known in medical terms as bruxism) is a common condition, so prevalent that it affects 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. And this number continues to increase. It’s probably no surprise to learn that bruxism can result in significant tooth wear and enamel erosion, leading to tooth surface sensitivity, chipped and fractured teeth, as well as a host of other dental issues that may require expensive treatment. But, what you may not realize is that over 90 percent of bruxism sufferers also experience headache pain caused by their teeth grinding. If you think about it, the link between teeth and jaw clenching, and headaches caused by teeth grinding, makes a lot of sense. Because the jaw is capable of exerting more than 250 pounds of force when clenching, this amount of force can crack a walnut. This extreme tooth-on-tooth force helps explain tooth wear caused by teeth grinding and may also lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and potential TMJ issues from teeth grinding. The temporomandibular joints are flexible joints found on each side of your head in front of the ear. Responsible for all jaw movements including eating and talking, they are the most active joints in your body and thus endure a lot of wear and tear. They connect the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. Excessive teeth clenching and grinding, which generally occurs during sleep, puts pressure on these joints and as a result can cause far-reaching pain in your temples, behind the eyes, in the back of your neck and through your cheeks and ears. The exact cause of bruxism is not known, but it is widely believed that stress is a primary trigger and once the stressful event has passed, the clenching and grinding usually subsides. However, the amount of damage and tooth wear caused by teeth grinding that can be done within a brief period can be significant. That is why it is so important that you seek treatment once you realize you are a teeth grinder, not only to stop your nagging headache pain, but also to prevent any further damage to your teeth. While there is no medication currently available to treat bruxism, dental experts recommend wearing a dental grind guard to protect the teeth from further damage and potentially help alleviate TMJ pain.

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