By: Ashley Walker
Have you ever found yourself grinding your teeth? Some people may grind their teeth unconsciously when they’re sleeping or when experiencing high levels of stress. Nevertheless, the action of teeth grinding, when done regularly, can cause harm to the teeth and damage the overall oral health.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding, medically known as Bruxism, can be caused by people who experience excessive stress and anxiety. Others who grind their teeth in their sleep may do so because of of a sleep disorder (such as sleep apnea), abnormal bite, or missing/crooked teeth. Additional causes of teeth grinding may include smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, caffeine, and depression.
Signs You May Suffer from Bruxism
Symptoms of possible teeth grinding may include dull and constant headaches, sore jaws, facial pain, worn down teeth, increased sensitivity, disruptive sleep, and earaches. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see your general dentist.
Effects of Bruxism
One of the most severe effects of bruxism is the damaging of the teeth and tooth loss. Fracturing and losing teeth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift. Believe it or not, something as simple as a missing tooth that has not been replaced can cause extreme shifting of teeth out of alignment and later result in issues with biting. Aggressive bruxism eventually wears down teeth to stumps, if your teeth have suffered this much damage tooth restoration treatments such as dental implants are a great resolution. Lastly, Bruxism can cause damage to the jaw bone by worsening the TMJ, temporomandibular joint, which will inevitably change the appearance of your face.
Tips to Stop Teeth Grinding
- Visit your general dentist and advise him/her that you are grinding your teeth. Your general dentist can provide you with a mouth guard to help protect your teeth from grinding in your sleep.
- Avoid drinking alcohol excessively.
- Relax your jaw muscles. If you find you grind your teeth at night, holding a warm towel against your cheeks can assist in relaxing your jaw muscles.
- If you stress, causing your teeth to grind, ask your doctor different ways to reduce your stress. Yoga and counseling are two good aids people use to control their stress.
- Take a sleep study test to decipher if you have any sleep disorders.