Teeth Grinding: Why It’s Harmful and What You Can Do

Do you often wake up with a headache or a sore jaw, but don’t know why? You’re likely dealing with bruxism, or the more common name, teeth grinding. While seemingly innocuous at first glance, teeth grinding can cause serious problems if not taken care of quickly. The problem is most people don’t even know they’re doing it.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

While stress is a common cause of waking teeth grinding, the majority of it happens while you sleep. Tooth problems such as missing teeth, crooked teeth or sleeping problems such as sleep apnea can all cause people to grind their teeth in the night. Most people don’t even realize they grind their teeth, and it isn’t until a loved one mentions it or you begin feeling physical symptoms such as headache and jaw pain.

It’s estimated that 15-33 percent of children grind their teeth, particularly when their baby teeth come in and when their permanent teeth come in. While children’s tooth grinding rarely becomes a serious problem, contact your dentist if you notice worn teeth or they complain about teeth pain or sensitivity.

What Problems Can Arise With Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding puts a lot of pressure on your teeth and over time it can have a negative impact on your teeth and jaw. Some of the most common problems include loosening, fracturing or event tooth loss. It can create or worsen temporomandibular joint disorder or wear down teeth. This may lead to expensive dental procedures such as bridges, crowns, root canals, implants and dentures.

Treating Bruxism

If you’re worried about teeth grinding, then there are things you can do to reduce it both through a dentist and at home. If you can’t kick teeth grinding on your own, a dentist can fit you with a guard to keep the grinding from impacting your teeth.

You can try to reduce your personal stress levels and avoid alcohol and food or drinks containing caffeine as they have been shown to intensify teeth grinding. You can use a warm washcloth and hold it against your jaw to help relax jaw muscles before bed.

A Lifetime of Smiles has helped many people with their bruxism and we can help you too. Call Dr. Ed today and we’ll set up an appointment to see what we can do to help with teeth grinding and repair any damage already done.