It’s a common condition that many people don’t even know they have: teeth grinding. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding typically occurs while you sleep at night, so identifying the problem can be difficult. But if you suffer from bruxism, it’s important to learn ways to curb this habit. That’s because teeth grinding can cause erosion of tooth enamel, tooth fractures, receding gums, loosening of teeth and even tooth loss. So how do you know if you grind your teeth?
How You Know You Grind Your Teeth
When you first wake up, check to see if you have a sore jaw, headache, inflamed gums (gingivitis), or extreme sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages, or while brushing your teeth. If you share a bed with someone, ask him or her if you grind your teeth in your sleep. And if it’s waking the other person up at night, be sure they tell you so you can seek treatment.
While there isn’t a cure for bruxism, some of the best ways to treat this condition include:
-Eliminating caffeine. Soda, coffee and energy drinks contribute greatly to teeth grinding because they act as a stimulant which makes it harder to relax.
-Avoiding alcohol. While alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep initially, it prohibits you from really getting restful sleep, which can increase your teeth grinding.
-Keeping regular sleep hours. When you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even on weekends), you’re training your body clock to help you unwind at night and feel refreshed in the morning.
-Reducing stress. Exercise, meditation and counseling are all effective ways to help you cope with and eliminate any stress factors in your life which, in turn, can help eliminate the need to clench your teeth.
-Relaxing your jaw. When you notice that you’re tensing your jaw or grinding your teeth, place your tongue in between your teeth and hold it there.
-Only chewing on food. This means no pencil or pen gnawing.
-Wearing a mouth guard. Talk to your dentist about your bruxism and ask for recommendations on a mouth guard that’s right for you to help curb your teeth grinding.
Schedule an appointment
Do you want to learn more about beating bruxism? Speak with our New Patient Coordinator by calling 281.265.7645 for more information, or click here to contact us.