Bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding, is the grinding or clenching of your teeth. Teeth grinding and clenching usually occurs without your knowledge, typically when you’re asleep. You may wake up with a pain in your jaw, without realizing it is an effect of overnight teeth grinding.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding is normally associated with heavy stress or anxiety. However, misaligned teeth and mouth irritation can also be a factor in teeth grinding. There are also other proposed causes, such as excessive caffeine intake and various sleep disorders, that have not yet been proven.
What Happens When You Grind Your Teeth?
If you grind or clench your teeth for long periods of time, eventually you’ll start to notice a tight pain in your jaw muscles or face. You may even start to experience frequent headaches. Your teeth are especially affected; over time, they will begin to show abnormal wear. This can eventually lead to tooth fractures or loss.
How Can I Prevent Teeth Grinding?
Try to avoid high-stress situations, or indulge in activities you enjoy that help relieve stress that could lead to teeth grinding. When it comes to your dental health, your dentist near you will be able to develop a treatment plan for you. They’ll also be able to consult you about jaw alignment if that is the primary reason for your teeth grinding.
If you have issues with teeth grinding, it is really beneficial to invest in a dental night guard or bite plate; these are plastic mouth pieces that are worn over your top or bottom teeth. You can wear these at night as you go to bed, or even during the day if you feel it is necessary. Even if you continue to grind your teeth, the mouth guards will prevent severe damage to your teeth and jaw.