Sometimes, we grind or clench our teeth in our sleep. The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism, and it is more common than you think. However, medical professionals are yet to come up with a simple answer as to why it happens.
This condition happens to children as well as adults. Some of us even grind our teeth during the day, while we are awake. This is called awake-bruxism. However, most do it at night and are not aware of it. This is called sleep-bruxism.
In this article, we’ll talk about this condition, and give you tips on how to stop teeth grinding.
The Primary Causes of Bruxism
A primary cause for sleep bruxism is very likely anxiety or stress. Other reasons may include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and other such stimulants. Sadly, agitated nerves and restless minds often overdo these stimulants.
Sometimes, depression and anxiety medication may also cause sleep bruxism. However, sleep disorders like sleep apnea are the most likely reason for teeth grinding at night. Unfortunately, experts are still debating on the true reasons. Crooked or missing teeth could would also cause natural teeth grinding.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
If you wake up with a dull pain in your jaw, then you may have been grinding your teeth. However, during a regular checkup, your dentist will check to for telltale signs of bruxism. These signs manifest in the form of tender jaw muscles or teeth that are flat teeth or worn out.
If your dentist sees these signs, they will ask questions about your general health, oral health, sleep patterns, and lifestyle. Your answers will decide if it is a simple physical problem, or if the root causes go deeper!
Treatment for Bruxism
There is no cure to teeth grinding. Thankfully, we can actively prevent it. One of the best methods to stop night bruxism is a mouth guard for your teeth. Occlusal Splints also do the same thing. There are also mandibular adjustment devices that fit over your teeth.
However, it is important to treat the underlying causes of bruxism first. Sleeping disorders like sleep apnea, that supposedly cause sleep bruxism require treatment from sleep specialists. If the grinding is due to excessive anxiety, stress, or depression; you need to speak to a psychologist. Consult your dentist about which specialists you need to see to save your teeth!
Some DIY Tips
Things that you can do to reduce or stop bruxism include:
- Quit smoking
- Avoid alcoholic beverages
- Avoid caffeine based drinks
- Try not to chew gum
- If you find yourself grinding your teeth, place your tongue between your teeth gently to stop the friction.
- Manage the level of stress in your life
- Practice yoga
- Set a time for sleep and try to relax in the hours before that
- Drink adequate amount of water
- Go for stress counselling
For other information regarding your dental health, give Des Moines Dental Group a call at 515-512-5339. Schedule an appointment today.