Do you ever wake up with sore teeth or a sore jaw? If so, you could be grinding your teeth. With or without knowing it, most people clench their teeth every so often, and it usually isn’t an issue. But, when it gets to the point where your teeth and jaw hurts, you may be clenching even more than you realize and that can cause long-term dental problems.
What Is Teeth Grinding?
Excessive tooth grinding and jaw clenching is known as Bruxism. It’s a condition where you grind or clench your teeth. Bruxism also regularly occurs in up to one-third of children, but it is most common in adults ages 25 to 44. However, it’s important to note that most people do clench or grind their teeth on occasion.
There are two types of bruxism — tooth grinding that occurs while sleeping and grinding done while awake. Sleep bruxism is more common and generally creates more damage to the teeth, jaw and gums than awake bruxism.
What are the Causes of Teeth Grinding?
There are a number of interactions that cause a person to grind their teeth, and it’s often a combination of factors that lead to bruxism.
Usually, grinding your teeth will result from a combination of these factors:
- Sleep disorders
- Lifestyle factors
- Abnormal bite
How to Stop Teeth Grinding
Addressing bruxism is necessary because you can grind your teeth to the point where you need crowns, root canals, implants, bridges, or dentures to address the problem. Here are a few solutions:
- Use a mouth guard: Wearing a mouth guard, as instructed by your dentist, can physically prevent you from grinding your teeth at night.
- Reduce stress: As stress can be a factor in teeth grinding when awake, you need to reduce your stress.
- Avoid certain foods: Eating or drinking anything containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, colas, or chocolate can interfere with a good night’s sleep, and can cause the grinding to intensify. Also avoid alcohol as it can actually increase teeth grinding when sleeping.
- Retrain yourself: Over time, you unconsciously and unintentionally developed the habit of grinding your teeth. Be aware of when you start to grind your teeth so that you can stop yourself from doing it.
- Visit your dentist regularly: They can monitor your progress and adjust your treatment as needed.
Your dentist is not there simply to clean your teeth and fill cavities. There are many dental issues that negatively affect other areas of your physical being. Getting effective dental care can improve your overall health, and that’s great for everyone.