Teeth Grinding Can Causing Serious Dental Problems. Here Are Some Ways To Help Reduce It.
Chronic teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common disorder that tends to effect between 8 to 10 percent of adults. While it is normal to occasionally clench your teeth. Consistent teeth grinding can cause serious damage to your dental health. If left untreated, it may even require dental surgery to fix any oral problems or dentures to replace severely damaged teeth.
Most people don’t even realize they are doing it, because the most common type of teeth grinding occurs while you sleep. Symptoms of bruxism include a headache or sore jaws. Married couples often report that they can actually hear their partner grinidng their teeth.
Can A Person Stop Their Teeth Grinding?
If you are grinding your teeth, there are many different approaches you can take to help stop it and prevent it in the future.
Mouth Guard For Bruxism
The constant back and forth rubbing of your teeth can wear down the protective enamel and make your teeth susceptible to cavities. One easy fix is to wear a nighttime mouth guard. Dr. Juan C. Fabrega here at the Dental and Denture Care Center can provide you with a custom fitted night guard that will protect your teeth. Mouth guards can also be purchased over the counter at your local store. However, many of our patients have reported they don’t always fit correctly.
Adding a few minutes of strenuous aerobic exercise can do wonders for bruxism. The teeth grinding is often caused by stress built up in the body. When you find time to release that stress through proper exercise, your body no longer feels a need to release stress through grinding of the teeth
Practice Relaxation Before Bed
All the tension built up in your jaw needs to find a way to get released. Practice some different techniques that can help you unwind at the end of the night.
- Try drinking an herbal and non-caffeinated tea at the end of the night. The warm tea will help your jaw muscles relax.
- Take a warm bath to relax your body’s muscles as well as muscles in your jaw.
- You can apply a heating pad or warm compress to your jaw before bed.
Massaging Your Jaw
When faced with a stressful situation, many of us can feel our jaws clenching up. If this is you, relax your jaw and give your jaw a massage. Rubbing on those muscles can help release the tension that has built up.
Pay Attention To Your Teeth Grinding
You may be grinding your teeth all day long and not even know it. In fact, cases of bruxism have been on the rise during Covid-19. Practicing mindfulness around those moments can help you recognize when your anxiety is getting the best of you. When you recognize your teeth grinding, relax and open your jaw by letting it hang open for a moment. Then move it around to maintain a more relaxed jaw position.
Eliminate Chewy Foods
Foods like steak and popcorn require a lot of chewing activity, which can lead to more sustained bruxism. Try to reduce or eliminate foods that can wear out your jaw muscles.
Stop Chewing Non-Food Items
If you are the type to chew on pen caps or lots of gum, you may be actually contributing to causing your chronic teeth grinding. These are repetitive motions that can keep your jaw muscles clenched.
Sleep Apnea And Teeth Grinding
In some cases bruxism is linked to a condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where a person wakes up frequently during the night as their respiratory system temporarily shuts down causing their breathing patterns to be disrupted. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 25% of those with sleep apnea demonstrate signs of bruxism as well.
How Does Sleep Apnea Cause Teeth Grinding?
Health professionals believe that when you stop breathing in the case of sleep apnea, your body sends out stress signals. These signals in the form of hormones travel throughout the body ultimately causing the jaw muscles to clench up. This seizing of the jaw muscles causes rubbing back and forth of the teeth.
Bruxism can also occur when a person is snoring. Snoring is a type of obstruction to the airways, which again, causes the body to release stress hormones that basically instruct the relaxed soft tissues that contribute to the snoring to constrict.
Talk To Us If You Suffer From Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding and sleep apnea are serious conditions that can lead to excessive tiredness throughout the day, increase in caffeine intake and crippling anxiety conditions. If you think you are grinding your teeth, please call The Dental and Denture Care Center at (352) 848-1050 or contact us through our website here to schedule your appointment today. We can perform a thorough dental exam and guide you on steps you can take to treat the issue.
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