Why is Teeth Grinding Harmful and How Can I Prevent it from Happening?

February 19th, 2016 by Bash Dental

When teeth grinding becomes more than just a once in a while thing, it can cause harm and/or oral health issues. In fact, for those who don’t know, excessive teeth grinding is also a medical condition referred to as “bruxism.” Bruxism is a condition where an individual clenches, gnashes and grinds his or her teeth unconsciously.

Why should you take having bruxism seriously?

All in all, it can do a lot of harm. Not only will chronic grinding wear your teeth down, but it can cause fractures or a total loss of teeth. Not addressing this issue even has the potential to affect your jaw, as well as cause and/or exacerbate temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD, TMJD).

How can you determine if you have bruxism?

In most cases, this excessive, and thus destructive, teeth grinding occurs at night so it can be difficult to determine whether or not you actually have bruxism. Inevitably, one of the first things you can do before you consult with a dentist is to check for some of the signs/symptoms of excessive teeth grinding immediately after you wake up.

Some of the signs that might indicate it include:

  • Your jaw being sore.
  • Your gums being inflamed.
  • A constant, yet dull headache.
  • Bite wounds in your mouth.
  • Unusual tooth sensitivity.

If you believe that you have bruxism, the next thing you should do is schedule a consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to examine your jaw and mouth for additional signs of bruxism such as worn-down teeth or jaw tenderness. If your dentist determines that you have bruxism, he or she might suggest some professional treatments, that you wear a mouth guard, and some “home remedies,” to help prevent you from grinding your teeth.

What can you do to help prevent grinding at night?

Some studies have indicated that stress is one of the biggest causes of nighttime teeth grinding. So, one of the first things you should do before getting into bed is making sure that you relieve your stress and/or make it a point to wind down. Some things that you can do to relieve stress are to exercise, meditate, or do something fun with friends or your loved ones.

Other things that you can do to prevent grinding include lessening your caffeine or alcohol intake, as well as preventing yourself from doing stress-related habits like chewing on pencils, pens, or your nails. Lastly, you can train yourself to relax your jaw when you are awake to help prevent you from clenching your teeth at night.

If you believe that you have any of the signs of bruxism, do not hesitate to reach out to our dental office. We have dental appliances that can help to prevent the damage that excessive teeth grinding can cause.

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