What is teeth grinding?
Have you ever opened your mouth and noticed a clicking or popping noise coming from your jaw? Ever wake up after a full night of sleep with an achy jaw or constant headache? It is possible that you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a dental condition that if severe enough can lead to misaligned teeth and eventually gum disease.
Why do people grind their teeth?
Teeth grinding can be caused by anxiety or stress, but most teeth grinding occurs during your sleep. Some grinding can be caused by missing or crooked teeth or by having an abnormal bite. Occasionally, night time teeth grinding can be caused by a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnea. Some neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease can also cause teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Certain antidepressants or psychiatric medications can trigger episodes of teeth grinding.
Why is teeth grinding harmful?
In mild cases, teeth grinding may have no impact on your teeth and may never become bothersome. In more severe and chronic cases, teeth grinding can result in broken teeth or even loss of teeth. In addition to damaging your teeth, severe teeth grinding can impact your jaw and cause other issues such as TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction), commonly known as lockjaw.
Is teeth grinding only common in adults?
Teeth grinding does not only occur during adulthood. Statistics show that teeth grinding occurs in 15% – 30% of children. Children are most likely to grind their teeth in their sleep, and it is most common when new baby teeth are emerging or when permanent teeth are coming in.
What is the treatment for teeth grinding?
Whatever the cause is for your teeth grinding, it is important to address the issue before it becomes chronic or severe.
- If you are grinding your teeth in your sleep, your dentist can fit you with a mouthguard to protect your teeth.
- If your bruxism is caused by missing or misaligned teeth, you can talk to your dental professional about solutions to these problems, such as being fitted for braces or crowns.
- If stress is to blame for your teeth grinding, talk to a professional about ways to reduce your stress. Some ideas include regular exercise, stress counseling, meditation, and if the anxiety is severe enough perhaps even anti-anxiety medication.
- If a sleeping disorder is causing teeth grinding, talk to a health professional about remedies.
Other tips to help you stop grinding your teeth include:
- Cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine ( soda, coffee, chocolate)
- Cut back on alcohol intake. Consumption of too much alcohol can cause you to sleep very
- heavily and can intensify your teeth grinding.
- Avoid chewing gum or chewing on non-food items such as pencils or pens.
- Before bed, you can relax your jaw muscles by applying a warm washcloth to your cheek, in the area in front of your earlobe.Call our office to schedule an appointment or to find out more information (561) 799-7791