There are people with a habit of grinding and clenching their teeth. Grinding teeth is medically referred to as bruxism. When done regularly, it can have serious consequences on one’s oral health. Some only grind teeth occasionally, and this is unlikely to lead to oral health complications. Other individuals grind their teeth often, maybe due to stress, anxiety, or even while sleeping. Grinding of teeth can be due to bite issues, missed or crooked teeth. If you have a sleep problem like sleep apnea, it can also lead to teeth grinding.
How to Stop Teeth Grinding
When you visit your dentist, you may have a mouthguard fitted to prevent the teeth from wearing down when you grind them while sleeping. To determine how to stop grinding your teeth, first understand what leads to the habit. For instance, if you find yourself grinding your teeth due to stress or anxiety, speak to a doctor regarding managing such issues. For example, you may want to consider attending stress counseling, enrolling for an exercise program, or seeing a physical therapist.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
If the grinding is caused by a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, treating it can help to eliminate the habit. There are different forms of treating sleep apnea, such as wearing a CPAP mask or other sleep therapy treatments.
You may also want to consider making the following lifestyle changes to stop teeth grinding:
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine
- Avoid chewing on items such as pencils
- Position the tip of your tongue between your teeth if you notice that you are grinding during the day. This helps your jaw muscles to relax
The Signs of Bruxism
Some people have no idea if they grind their teeth, mainly because it happens at night while they are asleep. But teeth grinding can manifest in the form of health issues like persistent headaches and sore jaws whenever you wake up. Your loved one may also comment about the grinding at night because they are usually the first ones to hear it. Discuss this with your dentist if you suspect that you could be having this habit. Dentists can perform a few physical examinations to check for signs of bruxism. For instance, if the dentist notices excessively worn out teeth or jaw tenderness, they may attribute it to the grinding at night.
The Dangers of Teeth Grinding
Grinding your teeth is one of those habits you certainly need to stop. It can lead to serious oral health problems like fracturing or loosening of teeth. In severe cases of teeth grinding, you can experience tooth loss. Grinding wears the teeth down, sometimes to the point that you will have to consider different dental treatments such as bridges, crowns, root canals, or implants to restore your teeth’ form and function. Grinding teeth can also cause a serious condition known as TMD/TMJ disorder.