Most of us hardly think about how we grind our teeth everyday. Sure, there is the normal things that we expect like eating, but the reality is that many of us over-exert pressure on our pearly whites without even realizing it and without a tasty meal either.
While teeth are designed to withstand the force that comes with chewing foods, they can become damaged when force or pressure is unevenly applied to the tooth’s structure. Many people with crooked teeth often run into this problem later in life as their bite unevenly distributes pressure on the teeth. This can erode and chip tooth structure that meets the other teeth during eating.
Teeth grinding is a root cause of many dental appointments. Officially called Bruxism, it is the compulsion to relive anxiety and stress through teeth grinding. Oftentimes many people with this habit will grind their teeth without even realizing it, and there are many cases of people with bruxism who naturally grind their teeth in their sleep.
Symptoms of Grinding Teeth
You may not notice that the noises coming from your mouth while you grind in your sleep, however, if you suffer from grinding your teeth you may wake up with a sore jar or tight neck. Here are some of the possible symptoms you may have;
- Facial pain
- Pain and stiffness in the jaw and / or surrounding muscles,
- Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
- Disrupted sleep (for you or your partner)
- Worn-down teeth, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and even tooth loss
- Broken teeth or fillings
Serious Ongoing Issues That May Arise with as a Result of Grinding Your Teeth
Tooth grinding depletes enamel from the surface of the tooth, this makes it easier for bacteria to enter deeper into the tooth, increasing sensitivity and the likelihood of getting a cavity or infection. As more enamel is depleted, the tooth will look more yellow and will be structurally weaker as time passes and will be more prone to breaking or chipping.
What can you do to correct grinding teeth?
Wear a Night Guard
- At a dental office, the dentist can quickly make a mold of your mouth that fits comfortably and allows you to breathe easily. This plastic molding, called a night guard will stop your teeth from coming in contact with each other while you sleep and can ease jaw pain as well.
- This is a remedial solution but may not help the actual problem which means it won’t stop you from grinding at night, but it will protect your teeth.
Relax & Meditate
- Since anxiety is a major force behind grinding, try to unwind or meditate to relieve stress just before bed.
Orthodontics Braces or Invisalign
- Orthodontic treatment can help with your teeth grinding issues. Invisalign or braces can help adjust your bite, align teeth, and alleviate uneven pressure. Both Invisalign and braces can correct TMJ issues which might be causing you to grind your teeth in the first place.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
- If you notice that you are grinding your teeth after your morning coffee, it may be time to reduce your caffeine intake or even call it quits on the substance. Caffeine and alcohol affect your nervous system and may cause you to grind your teeth more often. So skip that glass of wine in the evening.
Mandibular Advancement Devices
- Often referred to as MADs, these devices were designed to help people who snore sleep quietly by extending their lower jaw during sleep. Studies have shown that highly effective outcomes in the reduction of sleep Bruxism have been reported by people using MADs.
If you have been experiencing any tenderness in your jaw joints, facial muscles, or a roughness on the tops of your teeth you may be grinding your teeth excessively. Ask your dentist if your mouth is showing signs of teeth grinding.
Most people don’t realize how hard we can bite down and rub our teeth together. Maintaining tooth enamel is key to optimum oral health, taking care to prevent teeth grinding is just as important as brushing everyday and seeing your dentist regularly.
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