Occasionally people grind or clench their teeth, but when it occurs on a regular basis the teeth can get greatly damaged and other health complication may arise. Constant teeth grinding or clenching is a medical condition called bruxism, which is often caused by stress or anxiety and occurs during sleep. Over time, bruxism will wear down your natural tooth enamel and it can result in loss of teeth, aching jaw, recurring headaches, or even change the appearance of your face. The average person’s tooth enamel erodes by about 0.3 millimeters every decade, but teeth grinders can wear away 0.2 millimeters in just a couple of years. One study estimates that 8% of adults grind their teeth at night and another study shows that more than a third of parents report symptoms of bruxism in their children. If you are a chronic teeth grinder, it is recommended to invest in a mouth guard that helps protect the health of your teeth. A mouth guard is a clear, thin removable device that is customized to fit over your upper and lower teeth. The mouth guard will prevent your teeth from grinding or clenching while you are sleeping.
In addition to investing in a mouth guard to prevent bruxism, Infinite Dental Wellness has a few suggestions that can further help protect your teeth and keep them in a good condition.
Relax. We know it sounds easier said than done, but listening to music, taking a warm bath or exercising before bed can help you relax and it may reduce your risk of developing bruxism.
Avoid stimulating substances in the evening. Who doesn’t love Starbucks? But, try not to drink caffeinated coffee or caffeinated tea after dinner. Also, avoid alcohol and smoking during the evening as it may worsen bruxism.
Practice good sleep habits. Don’t go to bed at odd hours of the night. Keep a regular sleep schedule. It is very important to get a good night’s sleep because it can help reduce bruxism.
Talk to your partner. If you have a sleeping partner, ask him or her to be aware of any grinding or clicking sounds that you might make while sleeping, so that you can report this to your dentist at your next appointment.
Schedule regular dental exams. Don’t procrastinate your dental check-ups. Dental exams are the best way to identify bruxism. Your dentist can spot signs of bruxism in your mouth and jaw with regular visits and exams.
Even though there isn’t a cure for bruxism, it can be managed with some care and attention. If you are interested in learning more about bruxism, or to be fitted for a mouth guard, you should contact your local dentist right away.