Teeth grinding and clenching once in a while is normal and will not cause problems. However, if it becomes a habit, teeth grinding can cause many difficulties. Another term for teeth grinding is bruxism. Bruxism can be a problem at any time but is most common during sleep. For this reason, the issue can go unnoticed for some time.
Why do people grind their teeth?
Teeth grinding can be caused by many things. It can be caused by stress and anxiety, an abnormal bite, missing teeth, crooked teeth, or sleep apnea. Many people grind their teeth in their sleep without even knowing they have the habit. Often people will learn that they have a habit of grinding teeth from a loved one who noticed in their sleep.
If you’re grinding teeth and clenching teeth, you may be waking up with headaches, a sore jaw, or neck pain.
Why is grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw bad for you?
Everyone grinds or clenches their teeth once in a while—this is not necessarily a problem. But when it becomes a chronic issue, it can cause damage. Grinding your teeth can lead to jaw tenderness and excessive wear on teeth. In some instances, teeth grinding can lead to loss of teeth, loosening teeth, and even chipping teeth. Chronic grinding can cause severe damage to your teeth—it can lead to a need for root canals, implants, dentures, bridges, or crowns. Grinding can cause or worsen TMJ. Over an extended period, grinding can even alter the look of your mouth and face.
Clenching your jaw adds a significant amount of tension and creates many issues. It can lead to TMJ and cause damage to your jaw joint.
How can you stop grinding your teeth?
Teeth grinding and clenching is a habit that can be broken. If you’ve discovered that you have a habit of grinding your teeth—see your dentist. You may get a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
One of the best ways to stop grinding your teeth is to relax. Before bed, give yourself a massage, avoid caffeine, or take a warm bath. If the cause of your grinding is due to stress or anxiety—take measures to work through your stress or anxiety to relieve your grinding. There may be options available such as counseling, exercising, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants.
Correcting any misaligned teeth may also help the issue. If crooked teeth cause the bruxism, straightening the teeth may solve the issue. If teeth clenching and grinding has worn down your teeth enough, it can cause problems chewing and even change your bite.