Teeth grinding, often referred to as Bruxism, is an issue many of us may face without even realising it. While the occasional clenching or grinding of the jaw is completely normal and unlikely to cause damage, this is a habit that can become a serious problem if practised regularly; harming your teeth while also causing additional oral health problems.
This condition can be put down to several different causes, with the most common being stress, missing or crooked teeth, and medical conditions. However, as teeth grinding normally occurs while asleep, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether you suffer with Bruxism, thus making it even harder to stop it. So, how do you find out whether you grind your teeth, and, more importantly, how do you stop it from happening?
Constant, dull headaches and an aching jaw when you wake are two very common symptoms of Bruxism and can often be the first indication that you’re a sufferer of the condition. Your dentist will also be able to indicate any tell-tale signs, such as abnormalities in your teeth or a tenderness of the jaw. If left unnoticed, severe tooth grinding can lead to teeth being either broken or worn down; meaning cosmetic dentistry treatments such as Crowns may be required. In more severe cases however, Bruxism can also result in hearing loss, damage to the jaw, and changes to the shape of your face, making it important to resolve the issue before major damages can occur.
Below, we have compiled a list of actions you can take to ensure you stop teeth grinding, helping you to maintain your overall oral health.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety levels
If you feel high anxiety and stress could be the underlying cause of your Bruxism, reducing these levels could be the key to overcoming the issue for good. Carrying out small changes to your routine that are known to reduce stress, especially in the few hours leading up to sleep, could make a huge difference to the rate at which you grind your teeth, helping to relax your jaw muscles and alleviate stress.
Undergoing these small actions, such as taking a warm bath before going to bed, are proven to reduce heightened levels of both stress and anxiety, helping you, and your jaw, to relax.
Exercise can also be a great way to decrease the high levels of stress commonly known to be a cause of teeth grinding. Whether you opt for an intense workout or just a simple stroll, this can do wonders for helping you to overcome your Bruxism.
Invest in a Mouth Guard / Splint
A mouth guard, similar to those used in various sports such as rugby or boxing, can be very effective when aiming to prevent teeth grinding while asleep. Made from a flexible rubber, the guard is designed to create a barrier between your upper and lower teeth while also balancing out the pressure caused by Bruxism; protecting them from further damage. While a splint carries out the exact same functions as a mouth guard, it is made from a slightly harder plastic material that fits precisely over your teeth and gums, making it more durable, as well as slightly more expensive, as a result.
Mouth guards / splints are easily obtained through your dentist as a way to prevent damage to your oral health and are a great and effective investment when aiming to reduce any negative effects caused by Bruxism. And while this treatment method may not offer a cure for teeth grinding, it is one of the most effective ways to prevent the consequences that come along with it.
Overall, while there are no immediate cures for Bruxism, there are ways in which the condition can be prevented that may lead to an individual stop teeth grinding for good. If you believe you suffer with Bruxism, visit our teeth grinding page to discover what our Loughborough dental clinic can do to help you overcome this issue.