Occasional teeth grinding, medically known as “bruxism,” is quite common in most people. But when a patient grinds their teeth so hard they experience tooth and jaw soreness in the morning, the behavior needs to be treated before significant health complications arise. In today’s post our South Park dentist shares some ways to stop grinding your teeth and finally get some well-needed rest.
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
While there are different medical explanations as to why bruxism happens, and each case is different, most dentists trace the majority of their clients’ cases back to either a bite imbalance or stress. It has been shown that grinding the teeth releases an endorphin in the brain, which helps temporarily alleviate anxiety. (Interestingly, this is also why humans tend to shout curse words when we are suddenly hurt or frightened.) Aside from stress, teeth grinding can also be caused by an abnormal bite, missing or crooked teeth, or a sleep disorder like sleep apnea.
Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?
Serious bruxism can be very harmful to both your teeth and your overall health. Over time, your teeth can be worn down, fractured, loosened, or even lost. Head and jaw pain can also interfere with your quality of life, and even change the appearance of your face.
How Do I Know if I am Grinding My Teeth?
Most people are unaware that they grind their teeth while sleeping until a partner or roommate hears them doing so. If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night, talk to your dentist, and he or she will be able to examine your mouth and jaw for signs of excessive wear. A dull, constant headache and jaw soreness are other common symptoms of bruxism.
What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth?
The best way to prevent bruxism is to obtain a custom mouth guard from your dentist. This can help protect your teeth while you are sleeping. Stress management tips, like therapy, exercise, and meditation have also been shown to help alleviate bruxism. Other solutions include seeing a physical therapist or, in extreme cases, obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants
5 Tips to Help You Stop Tooth Grinding
- Avoid or cut back on caffeine.
- Avoid alcohol, especially before bed.
- Avoid chewing gum, as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
- If you notice yourself clenching or grinding your teeth during the day, try positioning the tip of your tongue between your teeth to train your jaw muscles to relax.
- Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek and jaw.
Get Professional Bruxism Treatment with Our South Park Dentists
If you are in pain from constant jaw clenching and tooth grinding, our South Park dentist office can help! Our experienced dentists can examine your teeth and jaw for potential misalignment and develop a treatment plan that fits your timeline and budget. To request an appointment, click here.