Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, occurs most often in your sleep. It’s important to be aware that grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw regularly can wreak havoc on your oral health. Without addressing the problem early on, it can damage your teeth and increase risk of development temporomandibular joint (TMJ). As bruxism weakens your tooth structures it can lead to loose, painful or fractured teeth and also damage fillings and crowns. Not to mention, if you grind your teeth, you are also more prone to have headaches and jaw soreness.
So what can you do about it? First, it’s important to find the cause of your problem; visiting your dentist is a good place to start. Schedule your appointment right away to ask your dentist about potential causes and solutions. Teeth grinding can be caused by stress, anxiety, sleep disorders and abnormal bites. Research also shows a connection between using alcohol and tobacco and bruxism. If stress is the issue, you may need to work your health provider to find a way to relax. Meditation and counseling are great ways to reduce anxiety and may be worth a try as well.
In the meantime, your dentist can fit you for a mouth guard that you will wear at night. This plastic, oral appliance is a simple solution that will help protect your teeth while you sleep. Again, it’s critical to take care of bruxism in early stages to prevent long-term damage to your teeth. A little damage control now can go a long way.