Many people are surprised when their dentist diagnoses them with bruxism. A fancy word for teeth grinding, this isn’t something that happens on occasion, like when you watch your children cluster all the ornaments on the Christmas tree in one spot. It’s something that you do, likely without knowing.
The occasional grinding of teeth won’t be enough to cause problems. If you visit your dentist twice yearly for your checkups as you should, your dentist will check during your exam to make sure you’re not grinding your teeth, and if you are, help you to stop it before the damage becomes problematic.
Find Out Why You’re Grinding Your Teeth
Sometimes, we grind our teeth because of anxiety and stress. But with bruxism, the grinding general takes place during sleep. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea may also be the cause though most of the time, it’s from a missing or crooked tooth or an abnormal bite.
With most people, since bruxism occurs while they’re asleep, they have no idea they’re doing it. Unless you have an astute partner who jabs you in the ribs for the racket, your dentist will be the one to spot it first. If you wake up daily with a constant, dull headache or sore jaw, these are very big clues that you should be scheduling a dental exam promptly.
Is Teeth Grinding Really A Big Deal?
If you think grinding your teeth is harmless, think again. You can cause a tooth to loosen or fracture. All that grinding can wear your teeth down and they’ll need to be replaced. Bridges, root canals, crowns, dentures, and implants could be in your future, all much more expensive than simply getting to the root of your bruxism before it’s too late.
How Can I Stop My Problems With Bruxism?
The sooner you go to your dentist, the sooner you can be treated. Your dentist can give you a custom-fit mouth guard to keep you from grinding your teeth at night. It will take some getting used to but it will prevent major dental problems down the road.
Aside from working with your dentist, you should try to identify the cause of your grinding. Often, it’s stress-related and if you work on stress management techniques while using that mouth guard, you’ll be on your way to better health overall. Sleeping disorders shouldn’t be ruled out either until you get a professional diagnosis.
As you seek out the proper professionals to lead you away from teeth grinding, practice some important self-care. Cut down on or eliminate altogether the foods and drinks you consume with caffeine. Until you get a handle on things, it might be best to cut out alcohol too as teeth grinding becomes more intense with the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
You shouldn’t chew on anything that isn’t food either. Make a point not to bite your pens and pencils and don’t chew gum because it makes you more likely to clench your jaw and grind away. Before bed, you can also hold a warm washcloth against your cheeks just in front of your earlobe. This will relax the jaw muscles and help keep you from clenching your jaw at night.
With proper treatment, you’ll avoid damage to your teeth from grinding, plus you’ll be able to wake up feeling refreshed every morning!
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Jennifer Raskin is a freelance writer, wife and mom that loves cold weather despite her location in Florida, cooking, reading, watching ‘80s movies, weight-lifting, and wine tasting.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.