What condition can cause damage to your teeth, jaw pain and other uncomfortable symptoms? You may have heard of “bruxism” – learn what it is, and how to stop it.
It can keep your partner awake at night and do serious damage to your teeth. It can even be a cause of undiagnosed jaw pain. Teeth grinding can be a serious problem for those who suffer from this perplexing condition. Strangely enough, you may not even know you have this tooth damaging habit until you experience unexplained jaw pain or your partner points it out to you. What causes teeth grinding and what can you do about it?
The causes of bruxism?
It isn’t completely clear what causes teeth grinding or bruxism as it is referred to in the medical world. It appears to be particularly common in children who often outgrow it at some point in their developmental cycle.
When it occurs in adults, it seems to be related to and triggered by stress and anxiety. Sometimes, correcting the underlying stressful circumstance can completely eliminate the symptoms and restore formerly peaceful sleep patterns.
How do you know if you suffer from teeth grinding?
If your partner or someone in your family has observed the chatter and noise emanating your grinding teeth, you have your diagnosis. You may also be grinding your teeth at night if you notice that your teeth appear to be worn down or you’re suffering from jaw pain or recurrent headaches. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a visit with your dentist who can check for any dental irregularities that may suggest bruxism or teeth grinding is taking place.
Now that you know the causes of teeth grinding, is there an effective treatment? Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent grinding teeth:
Reduce your stress level
If you grind your teeth at night, it’s time to make an honest assessment of your stress level. If you’re overworked or worried about a particular problem, addressing these issues may reduce the frequency of teeth grinding.
Try a natural means of reducing stress such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Biofeedback has also been successfully used to treat teeth grinding. Take a long soak in a warm, fragrant bathtub before going to bed. If your anxiety is considerable, ask your doctor about taking a low dose anxiety medication before bedtime or try the natural approach of drinking a cup of chamomile tea.
Check your medications
Surprisingly, your medications may be contributing to your teeth grinding habit. Medications that can be problematic include certain classes of antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. Check with your doctor to make sure the medications you’re taking aren’t contributing to your teeth grinding.
Prevent grinding teeth: Use a custom mouth guard
Although you can buy mouth guards without a prescription, the fit is usually not optimal which means it may be uncomfortable and not as effective as it should be. The best approach is to have your dentist build a custom mouth guard for you. Although this will be a bit more costly, it will fit properly and be more effective at correcting the problem.
Keep Careful Watch
If possible, have a partner or family member monitor you to determine if the frequency of your teeth grinding is decreasing. If so, you’ll know you’re on the right path to recovery.