How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth at Night

 In Greeley Dentist, Gum Disease, Oral Health, Sleep Apnea, Teeth Grinding

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How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth at Night

Bruxism is the scientific term used to classify the grinding of the teeth. Most individuals that suffer from it teeth grinding do it at night when they’re unconscious. While it may seem harmless at first, the habit can actually lead to numerous dental problems. Learn how to stop grinding your teeth at night from your local dentist in Greeley, CO, Dr. Taher Dhoon.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a term used to describe the gnashing, grinding, clinching, and gritting of the teeth while sleeping. The most common issues that occur from it are crooked teeth or an abnormal bite. The reason for that is because the teeth exert a lot of force on each other as you grind them. The jaw muscles have the power to exert about 600 lbs. of force per sq. inch from the molars. That force is applied on to the teeth.

How Many Individuals Suffer from Bruxism?

The condition affects many, while the exact figure isn’t certain, some studies show that one in three individuals suffer from it. Other studies show that anywhere from 8-10% of the population has the condition. Many people suffer from bruxism but don’t even know or see a dentist so that is why the figures are not accurate.

The condition can lead to serious oral problems and anti-anxiety pills are usually prescribed to combat it.

Is Bruxism Harmful?

The simple answer would be yes. How so? There are many effects of teeth grinding. 

The Effects of Teeth Grinding

While it may start as an annoyance as the habit continues, it can lead to the following serious problems:

  • Weakened gum tissues causing the teeth to become loose
  • Loss of teeth
  • Teeth fracture
  • Teeth getting worn down, enamel becomes weak
  • Receding gum
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Jaw joint disorders

Teeth grinding has been linked to the sleep condition known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is known as a condition in which an individual has breathing problems in their sleep which causes sleep disruption. The breathing pauses are followed by the individual waking up due to no or little air. It is one of the most undiagnosed conditions people face.

Impact of Teeth and Jaw Clenching

When you clench your teeth, it automatically puts stress on your jaw muscles. With constant pressure on the jaw, it eventually comes under a lot of strain. Constant teeth and jaw clenching can lead to a sore jaw.

The habit of clenching has been linked to stress and is usually caused by different habits of constantly chewing on things like pen, gum, and so on.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

TMJ is a joint in the jaw that connects the jawbone to the skill. Bruxism can lead to a TMJ disorder. The symptoms of the disorder include:

  • Pain and ache in the jawline and the face
  • Ear soreness
  • A tender jaw
  • Joints become locked
  • Pain while chewing
  • Clicking or grating while the opening of the mouth

What are the Reasons Behind Teeth Grinding?

We asked our friend, Dr. Cody Cowen, a dentist in Baton Rouge, LA, about the reasons behind teeth grinding. Dr. Cowens says that there are various reasons that can be linked to the grinding of the teeth. He says the majority of the time, people grind their teeth because of their lifestyle. These include the following:

  • Stress and anxiety: Stress can make individuals develop habits they previously did not have. From pulling of their hair to teeth grinding. Both stress and anxiety exert a lot of pressure on individuals and these habits are a way they try to cope with it even though they are detrimental to their health.
  • Hyperactive personality: Individuals that suffer from hyperactivity have a higher chance of developing habits such as teeth grinding. They release energy from such habits.

Kids and Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is a habit which is commonly found within kids that have ADHD. But they aren’t the only ones that suffer from it. The habit is linked to the following in kids:

  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Sleep apnea
  • Dental occlusions
  • Stress
  • Psychological problems

While the problem of teeth grinding is common with kids, they usually grow out of it as they age.

Symptoms linked to Teeth Grinding

The symptoms linked to teeth grinding are many and these include:

  • Flat or dull teeth
  • Earaches
  • Tooth pain
  • Pain in the ear or mouth area
  • Teeth getting worn out at the enamel
  • Tongue indentation
  • Jaw pain
  • Sensitive teeth

Steps to Help Individuals from Grinding their Teeth at Night

There are various treatments for bruxism. We highlight a few for you.

To alleviate soreness and tooth pain from teeth grinding:

  • Apply a warm cloth to the jaw, area of the pain
  • Massage your jaw muscles or the region of the pain on your face with your hands
  • Seek a physical therapist
  • Visit a chiropractor
  • Take muscle relaxant

Treatments that help you get rid of teeth grinding:

  • Seeking treatment to reduce stress
  • Drink more water, at least 8 glasses a day
  • Put less stress on your jaw, stop chewing gum and other objects
  • Practice relaxing your face
  • Wearing a mouth guard to protect the teeth from grinding
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol

Jaw Exercises

You can perform daily jaw exercises to help strengthen your jaw. These can also be used as physical therapy when you feel pain or soreness in the jaw.

  • Open and close your mouth while you have your thumb under the chin.
  • Push the jaw down while keeping your forefinger and thumb on your chin.
  • Open and close your mouth while you put your tongue on the roof of your mouth.

Treatment and Beyond Bruxism

While there isn’t one specific treatment to cure bruxism, an individual that has the condition can manage it. There are different ways that make the impact of the condition less harmful for you. So you should be able to stop the habit. Dr. Taher Dhoon, a dentist in Greeley, CO can provide you with a custom mouth guard for your teeth grinding and help you combat the habit.

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