Several people gnash or grind their teeth, a condition medically referred to as bruxism.
In simpler terms, it is also known as occasional teeth grinding.
While this condition does not typically cause harm, if it happens on a regular basis, some oral health problems may arise, and teeth may become damaged over time.
Even though bruxism can be caused by anxiety and stress, this condition may usually take place when a person sleeps and is more likely caused by crooked teeth, missing teeth or an abnormal bite.
Moreover, sleep apnea which is known as a sleep disorder may also be a possible cause.
Since teeth clenching commonly occurs during sleep, several people are unaware that they even gnash their teeth in the first place.
Please be guided that a dull feeling, sore jaw, or constant headaches when you wake up is a significant symptom of teeth grinding. Many learn that they clench their teeth through their family member who hears the clenching at night.
It is advised to talk to your dentist if you suspect that you may be gnashing your teeth. The dentist can check your jaw or mouth for indications of this condition such as excessive wear on the teeth or jaw tenderness.
Why you shouldn’t take teeth grinding lightly
If you are experiencing severe bruxism, it is advised to discuss this to your dentist. Excessive teeth clenching can result in loosening, fracturing, or loss of teeth. When these happen, root canals, bridges, partial dentures, crowns, implants, and complete dentures may be required.
Apart from these, excessive teeth clenching can also affect the jaws or cause TMJ or TMD disorders, which can significantly change the way your face appears.
What can you do to stop gnashing your teeth?
- The dentist can fit you with a mouth protector to shield your teeth from clenching during sleep.
- Ask your doctor or dentist about some alternatives to reduce your stress if stress is the possible cause of teeth grinding. Starting an exercise program, attending stress counseling, getting a prescription for muscle relaxants, or visiting a physical therapist are just a few of the excellent options that may be offered.
- On the other hand, if a sleeping disorder is causing the clenching, treating it may greatly help in eliminating or reducing the clenching habit.
Here are other tips to help you stop teeth clenching:
- Avoid or reduce alcohol consumption. Teeth gnashing is more likely to aggravate after drinking alcoholic beverages.
- Cut back on drinks and foods that contain caffeine like such as coffee, chocolate beverages, and sodas.
- Never chew on anything that is not food such as pens or pencils. In addition, refrain from chewing gum more often as this causes the jaw muscles to become used to grinding, and in turn, makes you prone to gnash your teeth.
- Consider relaxing your jaw muscles at night. This can be done through holding a warm towel against your cheek in front of your earlobe.
- Train yourself not to gnash your teeth. In case you notice that you gnash during the day, consider positioning the tip of your tongue between your teeth. By doing so, the jaw muscles are trained on how to relax.