Do you ever wake up with a headache or a sore jaw? You may be grinding your teeth at night without even realizing it. Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a common problem that can occur at any age. It can be a temporary issue or a chronic condition.
In this article, we will explore more about teeth grinding, so keep on reading!
What Is Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding is a condition in which you clench or grind your teeth, and this can happen during the day or at night. For some people, it’s a mild habit that doesn’t cause any damage to their teeth. But for others, it can be frequent and forceful enough to chip their teeth, damage their jaw, and even cause headaches.
There are two types of bruxism:
- Clenching — This is when you clench your teeth together. It can happen when you’re angry, stressed, or concentrating.
- Grinding — This is when you rub your teeth back and forth. It usually happens at night.
What Are the Causes of Teeth Grinding?
1. Stress and Anxiety
There are many causes of teeth grinding, but the most common is stress and anxiety. When we are stressed or anxious, our bodies tend to tense up, and we may clench our jaws or grind our teeth. This can happen during the day or at night, and it can be a difficult habit to break.
2. Sleep Problems
Sleep problems are another common cause of teeth grinding. This can lead to serious dental problems over time, so it is important to seek help for your sleep issues if you think they may be causing your teeth to grind.
3. Misaligned Teeth
Misaligned teeth are another common cause of teeth grinding. When our teeth are not properly aligned, we may find ourselves clenching or grinding our teeth in an attempt to compensate for the misalignment. This can damage our teeth and lead to other dental problems.
4. Drinking Alcohol
Did you know that drinking alcohol can also lead to teeth grinding? Yes, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means it slows down the body’s systems. This can lead to teeth grinding as the body tries to compensate for the slowed-down systems.
5. Taking Certain Medications
Certain medications can also cause teeth grinding, which include some antidepressants, antihistamines, and bronchodilators. If you take any of these medications and notice that you are starting to grind your teeth, be sure to talk to your doctor about other options.
What Are the Symptoms of Teeth Grinding?
The symptoms of teeth grinding can vary depending on the condition’s severity. In mild cases, people may not even realize they are grinding their teeth. However, in more severe cases, bruxism can cause several problems, including:
- Jaw pain or soreness
- Aching teeth or sensitive teeth
- Worn down tooth enamel
- Fractured teeth
What Are the Possible Solutions to Teeth Grinding?
1. Cut Back on Caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase energy levels, leading to teeth grinding. Try reducing the amount of coffee, tea, or soda you drink daily or switch to decaffeinated versions of these beverages.
2. Relax before Bedtime
Make sure to give yourself some time to relax before going to bed. This can help reduce stress and make it less likely that you’ll grind your teeth at night. Try reading a book, taking a bath, or listening to soothing music before bedtime.
3. Use a Night Guard
A mouth guard is a custom-made appliance that fits over your teeth to protect them from grinding at night. Your family dentist can help you get fitted for a mouth guard so that it’s comfortable and effective in preventing damage from teeth grinding.
It is important to be aware of the causes, symptoms, and solutions to teeth grinding, as it can be a sign of an underlying health condition. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is best to consult your dentist or doctor to rule out any serious health concerns.
Learn more about possible solutions for bruxism by contacting us at Oro Valley Dental Arts. We will connect you with a professional dentist in Oro Valley who will provide you with a personal treatment plan, like night guards, to help you regain your oral health. Call us today to schedule a consultation!