Many people grind and clench their teeth from time to time. This is teeth grinding or bruxism. Grinding teeth occasionally does not usually cause harm; however, when teeth grinding happens on a regular basis, the teeth can be damaged and several other oral health problems can arise.
We may think that people grind their teeth whenever they feel stress or anxiety. While this is true, the fact is that people normally grind their teeth during sleep and it is most probably due to an abnormal bite or crooked or missing teeth.
Since grinding usually happens during sleep, how would people know whether they grind teeth or not? Well, an evidential symptom of teeth grinding is a sore jaw or a mild, constant headache. Many times, people learn their teeth-grinding problem from their loved one who hears the teeth scratching sound at night.
If an individual thinks that he or she may have a teeth-grinding problem, a consultation with dentist is necessary. A dentist will examine the mouth and jaw for various signs leading to teeth grinding, such as abnormalities in teeth and jaw tenderness.
Teeth grinding is harmful as regular grinding can lead to a loosening, fracturing, or loss of teeth. The regular grinding can damage teeth down to stumps. When any of these things happen, implants, bridges, root canals, crowns, partial dentures, and/or complete dentures become necessary. Severe grinding not only damages teeth, which may result in teeth loss, but it can also affect jaws, which may result in serious temporomandibular disorders (TMD) or temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
To stop grinding teeth, your dentist can help fit a mouth guard (nightguard) that will protect your teeth from grinding during sleep. If anxiety is causing teeth grinding, consult your doctor or dentist about ways to reduce the anxiety. Some other tips to prevent teeth grinding include:
– Refrain consuming foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, colas, and chocolate.
– Avoid alcohol consumption. After alcohol consumption, teeth grinding tends to intensify.
– Avoid chewing pens or pencils or anything that is not edible.
– Train not to clench or grind your teeth. If you consciously clench or grind during the day, position your tongue between your teeth. This will help prevent clenching or teeth grinding.
– With a warm washcloth held against your cheek in front of the earlobe, relax the jaw muscles every night.