Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a condition that affects millions of people, both young and old. For some people, it starts at a young age and develops with time. For others, it’s a condition that forms later in life or resolves on its own. Although it may seem like a relatively minor issue, there are a few oral complications that come from grinding one’s teeth and a variety of health benefits to stopping the habit. Here we’ve outlined several facts about bruxism to keep you informed and your teeth healthy!
1. There is more than one type of bruxism.
Teeth grinding is a relatively common phenomenon that is likened to chewing without any actual food in your mouth. The most common form of bruxism causes people to unknowingly grind their teeth together both while awake and in their sleep—a movement that ultimately causes damage to the enamel over time. The second form of bruxism is jaw clenching, which is more likely to happen while awake. Often, jaw clenching is part of an emotional response when someone is anxious, angry, or deep in concentration. Clenching in moderation isn’t usually a problem, but it can lead to issues if it becomes too ingrained of a habit.
2. Stress is a common cause of teeth grinding.
There are many ways the body naturally and instinctively copes with stress. It’s common for someone to physically tense up while stressed, and often that tension extends to the mouth. Teeth grinding can be a naturally self-soothing way of coping with stress, and in fact, about 70% of bruxism cases can be traced back to stress as an instigator. Many people will find that their grinding or clenching is worst at work, school, or in other typically stressful environments.
3. Both teeth grinding and jaw clenching can seriously damage your teeth.
Constantly clenching and grinding can quite quickly lead to a decline in the protective enamel around your teeth, leading to more cavities and pain in the teeth as the inner layers are exposed. It can be hard to build this layer of enamel back up, so it’s important to address bruxism when it arises. Alongside tooth damage, bruxism can lead to headaches, jaw pain, and difficulty eating and chewing.
4. Mouthguards are one of the best solutions to bruxism.
Along with stress management, your dentist may want to fit you with a mouthguard to help prevent you from grinding your teeth. Mouthguards are custom-made, pliable plastic devices that fit comfortably in your mouth and prevent you from grinding or clenching. They are most often worn at night but can also be worn during times of high stress or other moments when you notice grinding or clenching to be a problem.
Even minor teeth grinding can be an issue, and it’s important to nip the problem in the bud as soon as signs develop. If you suspect bruxism is impacting you, do not hesitate to reach out to your dentist to consult them on the appropriate steps you can take to keep your teeth happy and healthy!
To talk to your dentist about teeth grinding, call Trublu Dentistry in Burbank, Chicago, or Hegewisch today!