Have you ever gnashed your teeth? Maybe you did so while focusing during an important exam, or when you got angry with the traffic officer who gave you a ticket for running that red light. Or maybe you’ve been drinking too much coffee lately.
Any of those situations will definitely make you grind your teeth. People usually grind their teeth unconsciously, but in some cases, they do so deliberately. While grinding your teeth isn’t a problem in itself, it can become one when you do it too often.
Teeth grinding – the causes
There are several things that can make you grind your teeth. For instance, exams, traffic, and other stressful events can cause you to grind your teeth to cope. The more often you experience stress and anxiety, the more likely you are to have problems related to teeth grinding.
Some medications, such as antidepressants, can also cause you to grind your teeth. Lifestyle choices such as drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and using recreational drugs like cocaine and ecstasy can also contribute to teeth grinding. People who have abnormal bites, missing or crooked teeth, and sleep disorders are also prone to grinding their teeth often.
Teeth grinding – is it really that bad?
Most people are unaware that they grind their teeth occasionally. Thus, there is no need to worry if you grind your teeth every now and then. But as many as 40 million children and adults have moderate to severe cases of teeth grinding, which need immediate dental and psychological intervention.
Frequent teeth grinding can cause your enamel to thin faster, making you more prone to tooth sensitivity. Severe teeth grinding can lead to tooth loss, gum bleeding and may require expensive dental fixtures such as implants or dentures. Your jaw can also become misaligned over time, leading to worse problems and disorders. Jaw problems can also affect the shape of your face.
Do you grind your teeth often? What are the symptoms?
Since most people are unaware that they grind their teeth, they may find it “normal.” This will make hard for them to detect teeth grinding symptoms in themselves. What you can do is ask your friends, family, or colleagues if they’ve seen you gnashing your teeth often or if they hear strange noises coming from your mouth even when it’s closed.
Other people may wake up with pain in their temples or sore jaws. These symptoms may mean that they gnashed their teeth all night, even while they were asleep. If you notice your teeth have become crooked or chipped, those are also signs of tooth grinding. If you feel pain when eating hot or cold food lately, that means your enamel has grown thin, which could also become an indication of frequent gnashing.
How can teeth grinding be treated?
If you feel pain in your jaw when you wake up, you can apply ice to ease the pain. You would have to avoid eating hard foods such as nuts, carrots, apples, candies, and beef. Too much caffeine can also cause you to grind your teeth often, so you have to cut back on that as well. You also need to change your lifestyle. If you smoke or do drugs, quit.
Treating teeth grinding also involves addressing the root causes. If you are taking medication that causes you to grind your teeth, you can ask your doctor to find you a substitute. As a stopgap, you can also buy an over-the-counter mouthguard that you can wear to protect your teeth.
If you're looking for a local dentist that can help you with your teeth grinding issue, get in touch with us today for a free consultation!