Do you often grind and clench your teeth? For most people, occasional teeth grinding is a common response to stressful situations.
But, when this common response becomes a persistent habit, it affects your body and leads to oral complications.
What is teeth grinding?
Bruxism is the medical term for Teeth Grinding. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously grind, clench or gnash your teeth when you’re awake (awake bruxism) or grind them during sleep (sleep bruxism).
Why do people grind their teeth?
The exact causes of teeth grinding is still not understood. But, bruxism is believed to be closely related to stress and anxiety.
Studies suggest that bruxism is a manifestation of Obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD).
Other factors include sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, frequent use of caffeine, smoking, and drinking.
Why is teeth grinding harmful?
Mild bruxism doesn’t cause serious complications. However, severe bruxism leads to several oral complications like:
- Enamel erosion of teeth.
- Wearing down of teeth: loosening, fracturing, or loss of teeth.
- Jaw tightness and severe jaw pain.
- Temporomandibular disorder (TMD): a condition that causes pain in the jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. It can even change the appearance of your face.
- Depression, eating disorders and insomnia.
- Frequent dull headaches that often start in the temples.
- Pain like sensation in the ear.
How can you stop teeth grinding?
There are a number of approaches to ease bruxism.
- Use of Mouthguards:
A mouthguard protects your teeth from grinding during sleep. It creates a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth protecting them from further damage.
- Stress and anxiety management:
If your teeth grinding is stress-related then you need to reduce your stress levels. You can try stress, relaxation activities like meditation and exercise to help the process.
- Lifestyle changes:
Bruxism can be eased by making certain lifestyle changes like:
a. Cutting back on foods and drinks with caffeine.
b. Avoiding smoking and drinking.
c. Practicing proper mouth and jaw positions.
Now, you know what bruxism is and how it can affect your health. If you find out that you have bruxism, consult with your dentist immediately. Follow their advice and treatment plans.
Do you know other complications that can arise due to impulsive teeth grinding? Let us know in the comments below!
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