Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Why you might be grinding your teeth

 

When it comes to your health, your mouth and teeth are a great indicator of how you’re doing. While many people think of mouth health in terms of how straight and white their teeth are. While a great smile is a lovely thing to have, there’s lots more to consider too, and one of these is teeth grinding. 

So what causes you to grind your teeth, what are the side effects and what can you do about it?

Teeth grinding

Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding often occurs when you are sleeping, so you may not realize that you’re doing it. Some people only find out on a trip to the dentist when being assessed for orthodontics.  The teeth are clenched together tightly while the jaws move back and forth, causing the grinding motion. 

Effects 

Consistent teeth grinding can cause a lot of problems for you. Teeth can be damaged, loosened, or even lost. The muscles of the jaw and face can also be affected too. 

How do I know if I’m grinding my teeth?

Some people grind their teeth when they’re awake, which is easy to identify. But if you are grinding your teeth in your sleep, and haven’t had them picked up by a dentist yet, there are some things that can give you a clue. These include waking up with aching jaw and face muscles. Some people complain of an increased number of headaches and migraines

Some people find out because their partner has seen and heard them doing it in their sleep. It’s not fun to sleep next to someone grinding their teeth. 

Causes

There are a number of causes of bruxism. Stress and anxiety can often be a factor. People with misaligned teeth or missing teeth also have higher instances of teeth grinding as do those with sleep apnea. 

Treatment

If your dentist has identified that you’ve been grinding your teeth, they will take steps to repair any damage as well as prevent you from grinding them in the future. The treatment will depend on what is causing your grinding. If you are stressed, you should take steps to reduce your stress levels in your life. If you constantly find yourself chewing gum, pens, or pencils, get out of the habit of doing this. 

Your dentist might fit you with a bespoke protective mouthguard that will cushion your teeth during the night, preventing you from grinding them. 

If you are getting headaches and jaw pain, use over-the-counter painkillers and warm compresses to help with the pain. 

Key points

Identifying and correcting teeth grinding is important. If left too long, it can cause a lot of damage to your teeth, as well as reduce your quality of life through constant muscle pain and headaches. 

If you think you might be grinding your teeth, but aren’t sure then book an appointment with your dentist who will be able to assess the condition of your teeth and come up with a treatment plan. 

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