Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding can be a real problem when it comes to your oral health because it so often happens when we don’t realise it – when we’re asleep, for example, or concentrating at work. If you’ve ever experienced jaw pain, the chances are you’ve been clenching or grinding your teeth without knowing it.
Symptoms of teeth grinding
• Facial pain
• Jaw pain and stiffness
• Sleep problems
• Worn-down, and therefore sensitive, teeth
• Broken teeth or fillings
Teeth grinding problems
As well as the pain teeth grinding causes – known as TMD (temporomandibular disorder) – bruxism can also result in the gradual wearing down of the teeth, which can lead to a number of dental problems. Worn-down teeth are put at a much greater risk of decay because they grind away the protective layer of enamel. In addition, worn teeth can impact on the structure of the face, leading to facial sagging. Lastly, teeth grinding can cause a bad bite, which in turn can negatively affect all your other teeth.
How to stop grinding your teeth
There are two ways in which you can prevent the pain caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching. The first option is to visit Frankel Dental Care for an assessment with your dentist, who may recommend a dental mouth guard, or splint, that you wear at night, protecting your teeth from wear and cushioning your jaw against the pressure created by clenching. Lifestyle factors that contribute to bruxism, such as smoking and drug and alcohol intake, can also be discussed with your dentist and help provided in reversing their impact. The second option is to look at the root causes of your bruxism – usually stress and anxiety – and consult your doctor about finding the best way to combat them; there are lots of solutions to consider here.