Do you grind your teeth at night? Chances are you do; studies show that more than ninety-percent of us grind our teeth due to stress, anxiety, too much caffeine, alcohol and trouble sleeping. The majority and most damaging grinding we do is at night, therefore, most of us are unaware that we even do it.
The technical term is Bruxism and it can be either grinding or severe clenching of the teeth. Most people do it without even realizing. This occurs when we lift a heavy box, are hyper focused to meet a deadline, or frustrated sitting in traffic. Clenching and grinding are normal reactions to the stress of everyday life.
However, just because they are normal doesn’t mean they are something we want to just accept or continue to do. Unfortunately grinding your teeth can have a lasting impact on both your physical and oral health. The impact of grinding and clenching on the body can be headaches, sore muscles, or even a tight jaw. The long-term effect of the wear and tear on your teeth is much more severe. Constant grinding and clenching can actually wear down the teeth making them much more likely to fracture or split. In addition, as if that was not bad enough, they also make your teeth far less attractive, damaging your smile and your overall confidence.
So how do you know if you are grinding your teeth?
Again, chances are you don’t! However, your dentist or hygienist can tell by a quick look at your teeth where you fall on the grinding and clenching scale. In addition, here are three quick questions to ask yourself to see if you are among the majority of the population that suffers from Bruxism.
- Do you wake-up with or suffer from headaches, ear or jaw pain?
- Has your partner complained that you making a clicking or chattering sound at night?
- Have you noticed unexplained trouble with your teeth? You brush, floss and yet still have dental issues?
All of these could be a sign that you are among the majority of us that suffer from grinding our teeth. So that begs the question, what’s the solution?
- Visit the dentist – this is the most important as this problem is so easily controlled. With a simple mouth piece known as a night guard. Small and easy to use, these night guards are slipped easily into your mouth and will not only help you get a good night’s rest, they will reduce your grinding and clenching. They can easily be worn during the day as well.
- Relaxation Techniques – In the morning and before you go to bed practice deep breathing and stretching to relax the mind and body. You may want to think about reducing the amount of television you watch, caffeine you consume, and alcohol you drink. All of these can increase our stress levels, and cause us to clench or grind our teeth.
- Wear Your Mouth guard – While I realize we have already talked about night guards and how simple and easy they are. The problem is they do not work if you do not wear them. Unfortunately, just having a night guard will not do the trick; you actually have to wear it. Yes, I will admit, not the most attractive bedtime accessory, however, is small price to pay for the health of your teeth and gums.
Again, the majority of us suffer from Bruxism and, like most other dental issues, the grinding and clenching of your teeth is easily solved. Take the time to ask yourself these questions, make it a point to consult your dentist next time you are in, and take the time to relax and breathe before you head to bed at night or start your day. Your teeth will thank you for it.
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