It’s common for most people to occasionally clench and grind their teeth, especially in times of stress. But when these things happen all the time, they can lead to serious issues that affect your overall dental health. Teeth grinding and clenching, also known as bruxism, can slowly wear your teeth down and affect the integrity of fillings, and crowns. In severe cases, bruxism can lead to complete tooth loss.
What causes teeth grinding and clenching?
There are several reasons behind this occurrence. Most patients grind and clench their teeth when sleeping because of an abnormal bite. It can also be cause by crooked or missing teeth. Patients who clench and grind teeth while awake usually do so because of stress and anxiety. It can also be exacerbated if the patient has obsessive-compulsive issues.
When is it a serious problem?
As mentioned earlier, everyone clenches and grinds their teeth at some point, and for the most part, it’s not a serious issue. However, when your clenching and grinding happens when you’re asleep, you could be doing more harm than you realize. When you find yourself often waking up with a sore jaw and headache, these can be indicators of bruxism at night. See your dentist to have your teeth inspected for abnormal wear and tear.
Ways to stop bruxism
Fortunately, there are several effective ways to reduce the frequency of grinding and clenching teeth, especially at night. The key is determining the cause of your bruxism. For example, if the clenching and grinding happens because of stress, find ways to manage it and relax, whether it’s through counseling, medication, or exercise. If all else fails, your dentist can give you a mouth guard to protect your teeth at night.
You can also try these simple tips:
· Limit caffeine intake
· Limit alcohol intake
· Avoid chewing on anything that’s not food, such as chewing gum
· Relax your jaw muscles before bedtime by holding a warm compress to it