Grinding Your Teeth – What it means for your Oral Health

Teeth grinding, or Bruxism can be common and if it only occurs occasionally and is not excessive, it is not a problem. However, when excessively grinding your teeth, you can not only experience tooth damage, but other health issues can result.

The most obvious consequence of teeth grinding is fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. Chronic teeth grinding can lead to the teeth ground down to the stumps, exposing the nerves and increasing decay, pain, and loss of teeth. The stress on the jaw can result in hearing loss and TMJ and even structural issues

Since most people who do grind their teeth, do so while sleeping, it can sometimes be difficult to assess that you in fact have a grinding issue. What are the signs that you may be grinding your teeth at night?

  • Dull or constant headache
  • Abnormalities in your teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Your spouse is kept awake at night from hearing you grind your teeth
  • Ongoing swelling on one side of your face
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Trouble chewing
  • Pain in your face, jaw joint, or neck area

If you have any of the above symptoms or suspect for any other reason that you may be grinding your teeth at night, let your dentist know and she can examine you for signs and recommend treatment.

The following are some causes of bruxism:

  • Stress
  • Previous injury to the jaw, neck, or head
  • Anxiety
  • Abnormal bite
  • Missing or crooked teeth

Once you are certain you have been grinding your teeth, the following treatments have been very successful for sufferers of bruxism:

  • A custom mouth guard worn at night to protect your teeth an d to provide a buffer from the force of the jaw at night
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Physiotherapy and craniofacial therapy
  • Lifestyle changes to reduce stress
  • Yoga in the evenings to relax before bed

Since bruxism is increasing in recent years as our lives have gotten more hectic, pay close attention to the stress levels in your life and take some proactive steps to reduce them. Your teeth will thank your for it and your overall physical and mental health will be absolutely thrilled!

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