Are You Grinding Your Teeth? 6 Tips to Help Quit
Teeth grinding is a common problem that is more than just annoying for the person sleeping beside you. It can lead to major dental and other health issues. Here’s all you need to know about teeth grinding.
What is teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding is technically referred to as bruxism, and the difficult thing is you may not even realise you’re doing it. Teeth grinding occurs subconsciously, and can happen both during the day and during the night. Generally, if you grind your teeth during the day, you likely do it in your sleep too, however, there are exceptions to the rule.
Bruxism is more common in children and teenagers, often stopping when they reach adulthood. However, it can certainly be present in adults too. The causes of teeth grinding are still somewhat difficult to identify, but we’ll touch on these a little later.
Symptoms of teeth grinding
Since you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep, it’s not always easy to identify when or why it occurs. However, there are some symptoms to look out for. These symptoms can occur at any time, but if you wake up with soreness in the face or jaw or have an unexplained headache, these could be signs that you’re grinding your teeth.
- Pain in the face, neck, jaw or shoulder
- Broken or worn-down teeth
- Restless sleep
Keep an eye out for these symptoms, because some of them, such as jaw pain or worn-down teeth, can lead to more serious conditions.
Why do people grind their teeth?
As mentioned, it’s not always easy to determine why people grind their teeth. However, experts have noted that there are a few contributing factors and common causes. These include:
- Stress and anxiety
- Sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea or excessive snoring
- Drinking alcohol
- Using drugs such as cocaine or ecstasy
- Consuming excessive caffeine
- Taking certain medications
In some cases, it can also simply be a habit that formed as a child and was never addressed. Fortunately, if this is the case, there are plenty of treatments available.
Ways to stop grinding your teeth
No matter what the cause of your teeth grinding is, it’s important to find treatment as soon as possible. Excessive or prolonged teeth grinding not only leads to the symptoms mentioned above, such as jaw pain and headaches but can also cause more serious damage.
Your teeth can become worn down or even broken, leading to teeth sensitivity and fillings. Jaw pain caused by teeth grinding can lead to conditions such as temporomandibular disorder. So, if you’re concerned about teeth grinding, here are some tips.
Determine the cause of teeth grinding
Typically, the best way to solve your teeth-grinding issues is to address the underlying cause. As we touched on above, there can be multiple reasons why you might be grinding your teeth, whether during the day or night.
In the event that your teeth grinding is due to stress or anxiety, taking steps to address your stress levels will help with teeth grinding. Some people suffer from sleep conditions such as sleep apnoea which can lead to teeth grinding, therefore, getting treatment for sleep apnoea should help.
If you can determine the cause, you’re halfway to finding a solution.
Regular dental check-ups
If you have a partner who sleeps beside you, you’ll likely be told about your teeth grinding. But if this isn’t the case, you may not even know you’re doing it. This is why regular dental check-ups are essential. Visit your local Parramatta dentist regularly, because they will be able to monitor and look for changes in your teeth. This is the best way to identify if you have an issue with bruxism.
One of the solutions your dentist may recommend is an occlusal device. These are more commonly known by other names such as bite guards, mouth guards, splints or bite plates. There are many different varieties, but, importantly, they can be custom-made to suit your mouth.
These devices are worn at night to prevent damage caused by teeth grinding. However, it should be noted that the action of teeth grinding may still occur, so it’s important to follow all other advice from your dentist to help prevent grinding, such as avoiding alcohol and caffeine or developing a more stable sleep pattern.
Mandibular advancement devices
These are a little more complex than a standard bite guard, but they are used in a similar way. Mandibular advancement devices are specially made to suit your mouth, and they are commonly recommended if snoring, sleep apnoea or other sleep disorders are the cause of your teeth grinding. Importantly, these devices can also help to address your sleep disorder, so if this is the cause of your bruxism, it can solve two problems at once.
Finally, considering that stress and anxiety are the leading causes of teeth grinding, it’s important to seek treatment for these issues. You may like to speak to a GP if your stress and anxiety problems are quite severe. Alternatively, you can try a range of techniques such as meditation or any other activities that help you to relax.
Nobody likes having stress in their lives, so if you can address this problem, you’ll likely be happier, healthier and of course, no longer suffer from teeth grinding.
Looking for a trusted dentist in Parramatta?
If you’re having issues with teeth grinding, your best remedy is to visit your local Parramatta dentist for a check-up. Not only is this great for overall dental health, but it may provide a solution to your teeth grinding problems. Contact our friendly team to make an appointment today.