Do you grind your teeth? 40 million Americans suffer from bruxism, or involuntary teeth grinding. Unfortunately, many of those who grind their teeth are unaware of it.
That’s because while some people do experience grinding during waking hours, in most cases, it occurs during sleep. Besides a loved one noticing the grinding and letting them know in the morning, some people can tell they’ve been grinding at night if they notice a dull headache or sore jaw during the day.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
Bruxism can be caused by stress & anxiety, but it’s more often caused by crooked teeth or an abnormal bite. The disorder is also common in those who suffer from sleep apnea.
Teeth grinding is harmful because over time, it can damage your smile. Bruxism can eventually lead to fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. It can also cause or worsen TMJ, a chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, which most people call the jaw.
If you suspect that you grind your teeth at night, it’s best to avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed, as both have been shown to aggravate the condition. Another way to treat the condition at home is with stress management. Exercise and counseling can work wonders!
What to Do If You Grind Your Teeth
If you suspect that you grind your teeth, the best thing to do is consult your dentist. They can examine your teeth for clinical symptoms of bruxism.
If your dentist notices signs of grinding, they may prescribe muscle relaxants to keep your jaw muscles from tensing, or create a custom night guard to protect your teeth.
Grinding is just one of any reasons to make sure you visit your dentists for check-ups twice a year! That way, they can check your teeth and treat bruxism before it results in serious damage.