How Grinding Your Teeth Affects Your Oral Health

How Grinding Your Teeth Affects Your Oral Health

Oct 09, 2013

Many people grind their teeth when sleeping and some are not even aware they are doing it. The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism. The behavior can cause you to permanently damage your oral health. Fortunately there are treatments to repair damage already done to your teeth. There are also ways to prevent teeth grinding in the future. That makes it very important to discuss the matter with your dentist right away.

What Causes People to Grind Their Teeth?

People grind their teeth at night for different reasons. One of the most common causes is stress and anxiety. People with an abnormal bite or missing teeth may also grind their teeth as they shift their jaw to find a comfortable position. Unfortunately people often do not realize they grind their teeth until alerted by someone else. The noise made can be very disturbing.

What Are the Symptoms of Teeth Grinding?

If you are concerned about teeth grinding, your dentist can look for signs by doing a thorough examination. In fact, many times dentists ask their patients if they grind their teeth because there are physical signs present during routine exams. Symptoms you may notice include:

  • neck pain
  • jaw pain
  • toothaches
  • ear discomfort
  • headaches
  • tooth damage

What Treatments Are Available?

If you have tooth damage from grinding your teeth, the dentist can repair chips and cracks with porcelain veneers, composite fillings, or crowns. If you have missing teeth then your dentist can replace them with crowns, bridges, dentures, or implants. Your dentist can suggest the appropriate treatment for your situation.

How Can People Keep From Grinding Their Teeth?

Your dentist may recommend that you purchase a night guard. Wearing a night guard while you sleep will keep you from grinding your teeth. The mouthpiece takes pressure off the jaw and keeps teeth from touching together.

If teeth grinding stems from stress, you can practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. You should also eliminate caffeine and avoid alcohol because they can both be triggers.

People who grind their teeth often clench their jaw during the day. Train yourself to become aware of the practice so that you can work on stopping it. If you have jaw discomfort, many people find  relief by holding a warm washcloth to their jaw at bedtime.

Even children grind their teeth. There are night guards made in their size if your dentist recommends it. You can also teach your child to massage and stretch the jaw muscles at bedtime. There may be a link between dehydration and teeth grinding. Make sure your child is getting enough water just in case.

Most importantly, if you suspect you are grinding your teeth, inform your dentist. He or she may be able to suggest ways to control the problem before it becomes chronic. Treating the issue early can protect your mouth from permanent damage.

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