Plenty of men and women all over the world suffer from the habit of grinding their teeth. Some people grind their teeth because they are stressed, some people grind their teeth as a coping mechanism, and some people grind their teeth in their sleep without realizing it.
Grinding of the teeth, clenching of the jaw, or gnashing of the teeth is known as bruxism. Bruxism can occur consciously or unconsciously both during the day and at night. No matter when or why you grind your teeth, it can be dangerous to both your oral health and overall physical health.
It can also complicate orthodontic treatment.
Let’s talk about it.
Some reasons individuals might grind their teeth are:
- Caffeine consumption
- Sleep apnea
- Acid reflux
- Depression or anxiety
- Certain medications
The consequences of tooth grinding can include:
- Tooth pain
- Jaw pain
- Loss of tooth enamel or worn down teeth
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Broken braces or retainers due to excessive tooth grinding, often at nighttime
Sometimes it is difficult to know if you are grinding your teeth during the night. The main giveaways are if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above. One of the most prevalent and effective ways to quit nighttime teeth grinding is to wear a mouthguard while you sleep.
While there are a variety of reasons for tooth grinding, they can all lead to the same dangerous consequences if left untreated. Most of the time, men and women with a tooth grinding habit are able to use some of the following methods to kick their teeth grinding habit on their own. However, it is possible that you will have to seek further care from your dentist or orthodontist. You might have a dental condition that can trigger or exacerbate your grinding.
- Use a custom mouthguard, especially for nighttime tooth grinders
- Ask your dentist about a habit appliance (especially for children)
- Avoid caffeine in both food and drinks
- Learn to manage your stress, depression, anxiety, or hyperactivity
- Seek counseling
If you are unable to kick the habit of tooth grinding, it is a smart move to consult a professional. Doctor Lee at Burlingame Smile Studio is available for consultations about tooth grinding if you are interested in orthodontics. You can also consult your general dentist.