Talk to Your Dentist If You Think You Might be Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding — or bruxism — is a common problem and one you should talk to your dentist about to prevent it from leading to bigger problems for your oral health.
About a third of people, many of them children, grind their teeth at some point during their lives. The causes can range from badly aligned teeth to stress or allergies, but what matters most, though, is that you address the issue and keep it from causing unnecessary wear and tear on your teeth.
Teeth grinding during sleep is difficult to identify since you’re asleep when it happens, but a loved one can tell you if they’ve noticed any nighttime grinding. Other telltale signs of nocturnal teeth grinding include having a dull headache or sore jaw in the morning. One of the dentists here at Downtown Dental Associates of Portland can examine your teeth and tell you if teeth grinding is a problem for you.
Your dentist can also offer tips to help you reduce nighttime stress that may lead to teeth grinding as well as fitting you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
Along with consulting with your dentist, things you can do to help prevent or lessen teeth grinding are:
- Avoid food and drinks that contain caffeine
- Avoid alcohol because it can worsen an existing teeth grinding problem
- Use your teeth for chewing food only. No pencils, pens, toothpicks.
- Avoid chewing gum because the muscle action involved encourages teeth grinding
- Try to pay attention to times when you might clench or grind your teeth and train yourself to relax these muscles. Placing the tip of the tongue between the front teeth teaches your jaw muscles to relax.
Children can also suffer from teeth grinding, though the reasons for it are unclear. Baby teeth being affected by teeth grinding is less of a concern if your child does grind his or her teeth, but if the problem persists once adult teeth are present, it must be addressed.
If you think you grind your teeth or you have a loved one who does, talk to us today about your treatment options.