Do you often wake up with a headache and pain in your jaw? Maybe you are also experiencing sensitive teeth or noticing signs of wear and damage to your teeth? Bruxism could be the cause of these symptoms. Read on to find out more about bruxism and how to prevent it.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is the medical term for grinding or clenching your teeth. This condition affects between 30-40 million people in the US. Most commonly, people with bruxism grind and/or clench their teeth while they sleep. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to discover that you have this habit, unless you have a partner who hears your teeth grinding at night. Teeth clenching may also occur during the day, particularly during stressful periods.
There’s no definitive cause of bruxism. In addition to stress, its cause may be attributed to certain medications, a misalignment of the jaw and teeth, or a symptom of certain diseases such as Parkinson’s. Grinding your teeth at night may also be associated with other sleep issues and disorders such as sleep apnea.
The side effects of grinding your teeth
Grinding your teeth gradually wears down the enamel on the surface, leaving your teeth weaker and more sensitive. This can leave you with tooth pain when you go outside on a cold day and when eating or drinking anything that’s either hot or cold. The increased exposure also makes cavities and tooth decay more likely.
Over time, your teeth may become damaged, which can lead to even more pain and require potentially costly repairs. You may notice chips, cracks, or even fractures to your teeth from the force placed on them while grinding.
How to prevent damage from bruxism
Grinding and clenching your teeth are typically unconscious behaviors, often occurring when you’re not even awake. As a result, it can be difficult to break this habit. You can protect your teeth from damage as a result of nocturnal bruxism by wearing a mouth guard to bed. While this won’t stop the behavior, it will help to prevent damage to your teeth and reduce some of the pain you experience.
Since stress, frustration, and anxiety are thought to be some of the main contributing factors to bruxism, working on these emotions can help to prevent the behavior for some people. Look at what is causing you stress or frustration in your life and see if these factors can be addressed. Focus on ways to relax and manage your stress, such as exercise and meditation.
You should also see your dentist to assess the impact this habit is having on your teeth. They may be able to recommend any necessary treatment and more advice on how to control this behavior.
Contact Advance Family Dentists if you’re looking for a family dentist around Winston Salem, Clemmons, Lewisville, and Advance, NC.