Imagine applying a force 3 to 10 times greater than what is needed to break a nut. Now imagine this power in your mouth. Yes, you have imagined bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding.
The forceful impact of the teeth on the teeth was called “brukhe” by the ancient Greeks. Experts today tend to agree that bruxism is more subtle and varied than that. Described as a behavior by some experts and as a disorder in healthy individuals by others, bruxism is a repetitive jaw muscle activity that includes squeezing, squeezing or pushing.
Most people probably grind or clench their teeth from time to time. Occasional grinding of teeth, medically referred to as bruxism, usually doesn’t hurt, but when this happens regularly, teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications occur.
Why Are You Gritting Your Teeth?
While teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it usually occurs during sleep and is more commonly caused by an abnormal bite or missing, crooked teeth. It can also be caused by a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.
How Do You Know If You’re Gritting Your Teeth?
Because grinding usually occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they are grinding their teeth. However, a dull, persistent headache or aching jaw when you wake up is a clear sign of bruxism. Most of the time, people learn that they grind their teeth from their relatives who hear the grinding at night.
If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, be sure to talk to your dentist. They may examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and excessive wear on your teeth.
Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?
In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can cause teeth to break, loosen or lose. Chronic grinding wears down the teeth. When these events occur, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures or even full dentures may be needed.
Severe grinding can not only damage teeth and cause tooth loss, but can also affect your jaw. It can cause TMD/TMJ (joint disorder) and even change the appearance of your face.
What Can You Do to Stop Grinding Your Teeth?
Your dentist may give you a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.
If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, consult your doctor or dentist to reduce your stress. Attending stress counseling, starting an exercise program, seeing a physical therapist, or taking a muscle relaxer are some of the options that may be recommended.
If the squeaking is caused by a sleep disorder, treating it can reduce or eliminate the squeaking habit.
Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:
. Avoid or cut back on caffeine-containing foods and beverages, such as cola, chocolate, and coffee.
. Avoid alcohol. The squeaking tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
. Do not chew on pencils, pens, or anything that is not food. Avoid chewing gum as this allows your jaw muscles to become more accustomed to clenching and makes you more prone to grinding your teeth.
. Train yourself not to grind your teeth. If you notice that you are grinding during the day, place the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This app trains your jaw muscles to relax.
. At night, relax your jaw muscles by placing a warm washcloth on your cheek in front of your earlobe.