It’s common for almost everyone to occasionally grind and clench their teeth, especially during times of stress. However, it’s when these actions begin to happen more regularly that you should start being more concerned.
Teeth grinding and clenching, known medically as bruxism, may seem harmless, but it can slowly wear the teeth down, compromising fillings and crowns, and may result in an improper bite. Worse, it can also result in full-blown tooth loss.
The Causes of Bruxism
Most individuals who grind and clench their teeth during sleep do so because of an improper or poorly aligned bite—it can also be caused by crooked teeth. For patients who clench and grind their teeth during the day, they may be subjected to high levels of stress. Having obsessive-compulsive tendencies can also exacerbate your bruxism.
When is it a problem?
Again, it’s important to remember that everyone, at some point, will experience clenching and grinding of their teeth. So it’s not really something to worry about. But what about bruxism when you sleep? Waking up with a headache and sore jaw are good signs of a bruxism at night. To verify your concerns, you can have your teeth checked by a dentist for unusual wear.
How do you stop bruxism?
Fortunately, there are several ways to address teeth grinding and clenching. For starters, it helps to examine what’s really causing the problem. If it’s stress, you can find ways to reduce stress in your life, whether it’s through exercise, medication, yoga, etc. In most cases, your doctor will recommend a mouth guard to protect your teeth as you sleep. You can also go the extra mile by:
– Avoiding caffeine
– Avoiding alcohol
– Relaxing your jaw muscles before sleeping by placing a warm compress to your cheek