Bruxism, or teeth grinding and jaw clenching, in not entirely uncommon. It is estimated that approximately 10% of adults suffer from this condition. The bad news is that bruxism can cause all kinds of oral health issues. In addition to discomfort by way of headaches, ear and neck pain, and tooth sensitivity, sufferers can also experience chips, cracks, and excessive wear to teeth, potentially leading to looseness, infection, and even tooth loss in time. Teeth grinding can also affect the jaw, leading to aggravation and inflammation in joints. Now for the good news: there are several ways to treat bruxism in adults.
Whether you grind your teeth during the day or it occurs while you’re sleeping (or both) there are options for therapies designed to treat the potential causes and actual symptoms associated with the condition. You’ll probably want to visit your dentist, for starters, to determine if it’s bruxism you’re dealing with. But if a partner, roommate, or family member has complained about the “nails on the chalkboard” noise you make in your sleep, chances are good that teeth grinding is to blame. You might also grind your teeth during the day, a good indication that you’re doing it at night.
Daytime bruxism is easier to deal with, of course. For the most part you simply have to be self-aware enough to catch yourself doing it in order to relax your jaw and put a stop to teeth grinding and clenching. Curbing bruxism that occurs while you’re sleeping is a bit more difficult. But you can start by dealing with stressors that might be causing the onset of the condition. There are several possible causes of bruxism, including allergies or a misaligned jaw, but it is more commonly linked to anxiety and stress.
If this is the case, you can certainly treat the symptoms, but you might also want to consider what you can do to treat the cause of your condition. Whether stress is occurring at work or at home, you need to think about what you can do to reduce it. You may also want to get some kind of therapeutic help if your anxiety is not a reaction to environmental stressors, but rather a psychological disorder. And of course, you can take steps to relax and calm your nerves, such as participating in meditation or yoga, exercising, changing your diet (cutting out caffeine and sugar, for example), and so on.
In truth, dealing with nervous tension could take some time, though, if that’s even the cause. In the meantime you should probably visit your dentist in order to get a custom teeth night guard that’s molded to fit your mouth. This plastic bite guard can be worn while you sleep to stop you from grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw. And it’s proven to be the most effective form of treatment for those suffering from bruxism. If you want to protect your oral health and stave off the pain and other symptoms commonly associated with grinding your teeth at night, a bite guard is probably the best solution until you can determine and treat the cause of the condition.