Teeth Grinding (also known as Bruxism)
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
While teeth grinding can be caused by stress or anxiety, it often occurs during when you sleep, and is more likely caused by an irregular bite or missing or cracked tooth. It can also be caused by a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnea.
Why Is Teeth Grinding Detrimental?
In some instances, chronic teeth grinding can result in crack, loosening, or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may wear teeth down to stumps. When these events happens, implants, root canals, implants or partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be needed.
What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth?
Your dentist can organise and fit you with a mouth guard known as a splint, to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.
If stress is making you grind your teeth, ask your local doctor about options to reduce your stress. Attending stress counselling, starting an exercise, seeing a physical therapist, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some of the options that may be offered to you.
If you have a sleeping disorder and it is causing the grinding, treating it may reduce or eliminate the grinding habit altogether.
Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:
- Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, and coffee.
- Avoid any alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
- Do not chew on pens or pencils or even anything that is not food. Avoid all chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
- Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.