Bruxism is the medical term used for the common habit of grinding or clenching teeth. Most people are unaware that they grind or clench their teeth when sleeping or awake. Although occasional teeth grinding doesn’t do much harm, it can affect your oral health in several ways when done on a regular basis.
Teeth grinding when awake is mainly related to stress and anxiety. Some people, however, clench their teeth only during sleep and this condition is known as sleep bruxism or nocturnal bruxism. The Canadian Sleep Society states that approximately 13% of children and 8% of adults experience sleep bruxism.
What are the Causes of Bruxism?
There can be several causes of bruxism in adults including side effects of certain medicines and as a symptom of some rare facial nerves and muscle diseases of. Sleep bruxism can be caused by sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Crooked or missing teeth and an abnormal bite are the most common causes of this condition.
In children, the condition occurs in two phases of their lives – when their baby teeth and permanent teeth appear. It’s most commonly seen when their teeth are not properly aligned, or when they suffer from illnesses and other medical conditions like allergies or pinworm.
How to Find Out if You Grind Teeth?
It’s not easily detectable especially when you have sleep bruxism as most people don’t realize they grind their teeth during sleep. If you wake up regularly with a sore jaw or a recurring headache, teeth grinding could be the cause. Consult with your dentist if you suspect it. Your dentist will examine your jaw and mouth for signs of bruxism.
How it Affects Your Oral Health?
Chronic teeth grinding can lead to several oral problems such as loss, loosening or fracturing of teeth, toothaches, enamel loss and aching jaws. Sometimes teeth may wear down to an extent that bridges, root canals, implants, crowns, or dentures may become necessary for treatment.
The condition can also affect your jaws leading to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). This joint connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull and helps in the movement and functionality of the jaw. Chronic bruxism can also change the appearance of your face.
How to Treat Bruxism?
After proper diagnosis, your dentist may prescribe you a mouth guard to protect your teeth. Depending on the causes, he/she may further advise you treatment for eliminating the possibilities of tooth damage.
Follow the additional tips listed below to stop teeth grinding:
- Avoid alcohol consumption as it increases the grinding teeth tendencies.
- Avoid drinks and food that contain caffeine.
- Hold a warm washcloth against your cheeks near your earlobe at night to relax your jaw muscles.
- Practice relaxing your jaw muscles by positioning the tongue between your teeth. This will help you prevent teeth grinding.
Visit your dentist immediately if you detect symptoms of bruxism in your child or yourself. If treated properly and on time, your oral health can be restored. Call our dental clinic at 905-453-7777 or write to us to make an appointment.
Photo Credit: www.soundsleephealth.com