Clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth is a perfectly reasonable response to feelings of anger. It doesn’t cause significant damage to your teeth.
However, it becomes a problem when you’re always gnashing your teeth subconsciously or while you’re asleep. This condition, called “bruxism,” can wear your teeth down to the point wherein you may need dentures. Also, despite the benefits and strength of dental implants, grinding can cause them to fail.
Bruxism may also cause soreness in your jaw, Grandridgedental.net says, making it hard to open or close your mouth. If worse comes to worst, the grinding could cause muscle inflammation, which may lead to hearing loss. To avoid these complications, identify bruxism’s signs and symptoms and know how to treat them.
Medical experts don’t have a conclusive answer on what causes teeth grinding – yet. However, recent research published in the Journal of Research in Personality says that bruxism is more apparent in neurotic people. As such, emotional stress may be one of the causes of your excessive teeth grinding.
Another possible cause of bruxism is sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Over 8% of the U.S.’s adult population has sleep-related bruxism, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The condition is more prevalent in children than in adults. Up to 20% of kids under 11 years old experience it, but most of them grow out of the habit as they become older.
If you keep waking up with a sore jaw and painful teeth, here are ways that may help you break the bruxism habit.
Guard Your Teeth
If you grind your teeth while asleep, you may want to get a nighttime mouthguard. This acts as a buffer between your upper and lower teeth, preventing you from grinding them together while you’re snoozing. You can get a mouthguard from your local pharmacy or have a dentist customise one for you. While over-the-counter mouthguards are less pricey, they’re not as comfortable to wear as personalised ones.
Destress Before You Sleep
Because stress is a possible cause of bruxism whether you’re awake or asleep, it may be helpful to unwind before you go to bed. You could try mindfulness or concentration meditation that will calm you and free your mind of any stressful thoughts before you hit the hay. You may also stay fit while battling bruxism by exercising, as physical activity is known to be an effective stress reliever. It’s also helpful to consult a therapist for recommendations on how to manage your stress and anxiety.
Give Your Jaws a Break
Try to see if you have any habits that may cause you to clench your jaws, like biting on a pen or chewing gum. Train yourself to resist these activities. Give your jaw muscles a break and reserve munching for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you really need to fiddle with something while you work or study, use a stress ball or a fidget cube.
Grinding your teeth can have dire consequences not only to your teeth but also to your overall health. Make an effort to treat it before it gets worse, with these tips. And don’t be afraid to go to your dentist or doctor if you can’t shake the habit. Since treating bruxism involves relieving stress as well, you’ll end up with a better smile and a calmer mind.