Teeth grinding is also known as bruxism. It’s a common condition affecting 30 to 40 million children and adults in the US alone. But how do you know that you’re grinding your teeth when sleeping?
If you wake up in the morning with sore teeth and jaws, it’s a sign that you were grinding your teeth while sleeping. The grinding and clenching of the jaws can develop at any age. It doesn’t just occur in your sleep, but you may be unconsciously doing it when you’re awake, especially when you’re concentrating on a certain task.
How to stop or prevent it?
There are several techniques to keep yourself from grinding or clenching your teeth. But before you can stop grinding, you need to know why you’re grinding. The only way to evaluate your condition is to visit your dentist and undergo a comprehensive dental exam. Your dentist will also develop a treatment plan designed for your situation. There are several ways to treat teeth grinding:
Wearing a night guard
When you visit your dentist, he or she may give you a customized night guard that you must wear every night to prevent yourself from grinding your teeth. Although it doesn’t treat the cause of teeth grinding, it does help in redistributing the force when you grind your teeth and protects them from being damaged as a result of teeth grinding.
Another technique that can prevent teeth grinding is a mouth massage. You don’t need to hire a masseur to massage your face. You can rub your face and jaw on your own before you go to sleep for the night. To massage your face and jaw, try rubbing motions with your hands on the jaw.
Avoid chewing gum
Constant chewing will cause your jaw to get used to clamping. You need to recondition your jaw to be more relaxed so it won’t add tension when you sleep. Avoiding gum and chewing on things like ice, pens, or nails will help with your teeth grinding.
Don’t drink alcohol
Teeth grinding is more likely to occur when you consume alcohol excessively. Although alcohol doesn’t directly affect teeth clenching, it does affect your quality of sleep. If your sleep is disrupted, you’ll have less rest and more nocturnal activities, including teeth grinding or clenching.
If the number one reason for your teeth grinding is stress, you should learn how to relax. Meditation and psychoanalysis are proven to manage anxiety and stress. You may also choose to undergo hypnotherapy, which offers long-term effects. You may need to combine behavior modification and the use of occlusal appliances (like a mouth guard) to effectively prevent yourself from grinding your teeth.
If you wish to avoid or put an end to teeth grinding, you should see your dentist. Your dentist will perform an examination and help you get to the root of your teeth grinding before he or she can give you a treatment plan.
You should stop grinding your teeth right now. Keep in mind that when you grind your teeth, you’re also eroding your tooth enamel. It makes your teeth more vulnerable to tooth sensitivity. If you need help in the prevention of teeth grinding and avoid TMJ, visit Michael Mabry’s clinic today for some pieces of advice.