Do you frequently grind your teeth? While it is normal to clench your teeth occasionally, you may damage your teeth and experience symptoms that impact your day due to sustained teeth grinding.
Teeth grinding or bruxism often happens at night while asleep, so you may not even realize that you grind your teeth. Your family may mention hearing you grind your teeth at night, or you may experience headaches and a sore jaw after last night’s sleep.
In this article, we will run you through the harmful effects of teeth grinding and how you can stop it.
Adverse Effects of Teeth Grinding
Other than the discomfort of a sore jaw, teeth grinding can cause some severe noticeable side effects such as:
- Your teeth may be flattened, fractured, or chipped. This can affect your smile and how your teeth feel in your mouth. You may need veneers, dentures, or dental implants as teeth start to get loose.
- Your tooth enamel may wear away, exposing the deeper layers of your teeth to dental health risks such as cavities.
- You may experience more sensitivity or pain as your enamel wears away. This can make hot or cold temperatures uncomfortable on your teeth and cause sharp pains.
- Your jaw muscles may become fatigued from being constantly clenched
- You may also experience pain in other areas such as the neck, face, and ears.
- You may experience constant headaches, especially around your temples.
- The cheeks may experience pain and bleeding as the cheek tissues get damaged.
- In extreme cases, your teeth grinding may disrupt your sleep.
How Do You Stop Teeth Grinding?
There are various approaches to relieve tooth grinding. You can try any of the following:
- Mouthguards: Your dentist may recommend a mouthguard to protect your teeth and enamel from constant grinding. They’re often custom-fit to prevent them from falling out in your sleep.
- Exercise: Teeth grinding is often caused by stress. Adding regular exercise to your weekly routine can help you relieve stress and teeth grinding.
- Have Some Down Time before Bed: Setting aside time to relax and unwind before going to bed can help reduce teeth grinding. You can allocate time for a warm bath and a warm caffeine-free drink to relax and warm up your jaw muscles.
- Have a Massage: Relaxing your face and massaging your jaw muscles can help release built-up tension.
- Be Aware of Your Clenching: Being aware of your teeth clenching can help you relax and let go of anxiety. When you notice signs of tension around your jaw, you can stop it by dropping your jaw and letting it hang for a moment.
- Only Chew on Food: Are you fond of chewing on gum, ice, or a pen cap? These repetitive motions can keep your jaw clenched and encourage teeth to grind. Only chew on food and stop these bad chewing habits to ease your teeth grinding.
- Foods to Avoid: Chewy foods such as steak, popcorn, and taffy can further wear out your jaw.
Teeth grinding is often caused by stress and can cause adverse effects such as misshapen and sensitive teeth. Changing your habits and putting on a mouthguard can help ease teeth grinding and protect your teeth.
Are you looking for an affordable dentist in Ann Arbor? We at Dental House MI can help protect your teeth and maintain your smile. Set an appointment today!