Teeth grinding Bruxism

Rockford Dentist - The Teeth People

If you notice that you’re waking up with a tight jaw, sore face, or dull headache, there might be a simple explanation: bruxism. Also known as tooth grinding or clenching, bruxism is when you move your teeth back and forth during sleep. Over time, it can cause tooth sensitivity and even damage or crack your teeth.

Why do people grind their teeth

Although the causes of bruxism are not really known, several factors may be involved. Stressful situations, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth appear to contribute. There is also some evidence that sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can cause teeth grinding.

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If you suspect that you might be doing it, try to figure out why it’s happening so you can stop it. There are a handful of reasons why you might be grinding your teeth, but these top three causes are—by far—the most common.

  1. Teeth Problems 
    Perhaps your teeth don’t line up correctly or you have teeth that are missing or crooked. The misalignment, which is also known as occlusion, means that the teeth don’t meet when the jaw opens and closes. This could be due to an issue with the temporomandibular joint or the muscles around the jaw. For example, if those facial muscles spasm during sleep, you could start grinding your teeth. To know if this is the cause of your tooth grinding, you’ll need to visit a dentist who can take X-rays and give you a proper diagnosis.
     

  2. Anxiety and Stress 
    When you are worrying excessively, you are likelier to clench your jaw and work it back and forth throughout the night, wearing your teeth down. Problems at work, in relationships, or due to finances don’t just go away because it’s nighttime. The more stress that you feel, the worse off your nights will be. And the more you try to ignore the stress, the likelier you are to be a heavy tooth grinder. So try these remedies.
     

  3. Other Medical Conditions
    Certain medications, like some antidepressants, or disorders like Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, can cause bruxism. Even having too much stomach acid reflux or suffering from sleep apnea can lead to nighttime grinding.

Tips To Help Stop Teeth Grinding

Tips to help prevent teeth grinding include:
 

  • Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.
     

  • Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
     

  • Avoid or find the lowest effective dose for medications containing amphetamines use in treating ADHD and sleep disorders.
     

  • Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
     

  • Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
     

  • Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.

Additionally, we can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep.

A simple and easy appointment can help you have a better night.

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