Teeth Grinding and What You Can Do About It
Do you ever find yourself grinding your teeth occasionally at times of stress or just out of the blue? Although it’s not harmful, if it occurs on a regular basis, it may damage your teeth and along with it, several dental health problems may arise.
Why does this happen?
Teeth grinding or bruxism, can be attributed to anxiety and stress. More often than not, it occurs when the person does not know it – when they are asleep. And when this happens, the common reason for it would be an abnormal bite, a missing tooth or misaligned teeth.
Sometimes you catch yourself grinding your teeth and stop yourself in the middle of it, but it’s common to be unaware of it. If you suspect you are, perhaps you can ask a family member to take note of it or check if you they hear you grinding your teeth at night.
Teeth grinding can wear down your teeth. It can result in teeth fractures, loosening or total loss of your tooth. It can also damage your bridges, implants, dentures, crowns, root canals etc. It also affects the jaw, and can result in hearing loss or even worse, TMD/TMJ and can change the appearance of your face.
Children also grind their teeth – in fact, approximately 20-33% of children grind theirs. This happens when kids’ teeth start emerging, or their permanent teeth start coming out.
What can I do about it?
Immediately consult with your dentist so he can check your jaw and mouth for signs of teeth grinding. Aside from the noise you make at night grinding your teeth, there will also be an evident abnormality of your teeth and jaw tenderness.
Your dentist can also provide you with a mouth guard to defend your teeth from unconscious grinding during sleep.
On a more personal level, if your teeth grinding is caused by stress or anxiety, create ways for you to relax and reduce stress levels. Start an exercise program, try to loosen up before you sleep, seek professional help so you can sleep better at night. Lessen consumption of foods and drinks that contain caffeine, alcohol, etc. Be conscious of what you do when you are stressed – train yourself to stop clenching or grinding your teeth. Massage your jaw to relax the muscles. In other words, distract yourself from the root cause of your teeth grinding.
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