Teeth Grinding: What You Need to Know

Many people probably clench or grind their teeth regularly. The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism, and it doesn’t typically cause any harm. However, if the grinding action occurs too often, then there is a considerable risk of damaging the tooth structure, which can result in various other dental health problems.

Bruxism often occurs when you are asleep, but it can still happen when you are wide awake. The cause of teeth grinding can vary from anxiety and stress to sleep disorders and crooked or missing teeth to having an abnormal bit. According to an ADA study, bruxism may also be linked to tobacco and alcohol usage. People who smoke and drink alcohol have a higher possibility of grinding their teeth.

Teeth Grinding Symptoms

Some of the bruxism symptoms include the following:

• Jaw and neck soreness due to excessive teeth grinding
• Dull headaches around the temple area
• Sleep disruption
• Damaged teeth that have been chipped, fractured, flattened or loosened
• Increased tooth sensitivity and pain
• Locked jaw or exhausted jaw muscles that affect the ability to close or open the mouth completely
• Damage on the internal part of the cheek due to the grinding

Treatment Options

Your dentist may recommend different solutions depending on the severity of your teeth grinding issue. A typical treatment option is to use mouth guards when sleeping to prevent bruxism at night. In specific cases, your physician or dentist may also prescribe a suitable muscle relaxant to be taken before bedtime. Since stress also causes bruxism, you must find ways to relax. Counselling, exercise, and meditation are all effective methods of reducing your anxiety and stress.

Teeth grinding in children

Bruxism is not only limited to grown-ups, but it can also affect kids. However, most children will stop this habit by the time they reach adolescence. In most instances, bruxism in children is not typically a harmful habit that demands medical treatment. Some of the leading causes of this teeth grinding problem in kids includes:

• Mouth irritation
• Misaligned teeth
• Allergies
• Nutritional deficiencies

Here are some tips to stop a child from grinding their teeth:

• Reduce your child’s anxiety, specifically before bed
• Try stretching exercises and massage to relax their muscles
• Ensure your child’s diet includes lots of water as dehydration is also associated with bruxism
• Discuss with your dentist and ask them to advise on other possible solutions

Conclusion

Since teeth grinding occurs at night during sleep, many people do not know that they have this problem. Nevertheless, a sore jaw or a constant, dull headache in the morning IA sign of bruxism. Since teeth grinding can lead to loosening, fracturing and the damage of teeth, arrange a dentist visit immediately to get a diagnosis and treatment for your bruxism.

References: Mouth Healthy, WebMD, Mayo Clinic