You might have clenched or ground your teeth at some point. It should not be a cause for alarm, but if it becomes a habit, you might need to investigate the matter. In medical terms, teeth grinding is known as bruxism. In most cases, teeth grinding does not have any harmful effects, but if it is regularly, it could damage the teeth. Also, it could cause oral health complications.
Why Do You Grind Your Teeth?
The most common causes of teeth grinding are anxiety and stress. Sometimes, bruxism might occur at night as you sleep. It might be caused by a crooked tooth or in cases where you have an abnormal bite. It is also believed that teeth grinding is caused by sleeping disorders like sleep apnea.
If the habit continues, bruxism could become chronic and result in loss of teeth, fracturing, or loosening your teeth. Also, you might wear your teeth by grinding them to stumps. If this occurs, you might end up needing crowns, implants, bridges, or partial dentures.
What To Do if You Grind Your Teeth at Night
There are three simple steps that you should take when you notice you grind your teeth at night. These include:
1- Visit a Dentist
Not every individual that has bruxism needs to visit the dentist. However, if you start getting headaches in the morning, long-term teeth damages, or pain in the jaws, then one step must be to visit a dentist. The dentist may probably recommend using mouthguards or dental splints. These are worn before you go to bed. They will hold your jaws in position or create a barrier to reduce the chances of damaging your teeth.
2- Work on Reducing Stress
It might seem like there shouldn’t be a relationship between stress and bruxism, but it is possible to grind your teeth when stressed. It might not happen to every person, but there are chances that when a person is stressed or feeling anxious, they might grind their teeth to without knowing. It is worse at night because you remain unaware of what occurs; hence, it is challenging to control bruxism.
To reduce stress, you should attempt to relax your mind every night before you go to bed. You could take a warm bath as it will help reduce the tension in your body and allow your mind to relax. Another straightforward approach would be to gently massage your temples and jaws to release stress before going to bed.
3- Address Any Underlying Health Issues
It is possible that teeth grinding could result from an underlying health condition. In this case, it is essential to identify any health issues that could cause your teeth to grind. For example, if you have any sleep disorders, it would help if you began by seeking treatment for the condition. Also, if you are taking medications to treat other conditions, you might experience bruxism. In this case, research on whether bruxism could be a side effect of the medicine.
Teeth grinding is not a severe habit, but you should seek treatment if you notice it is getting persistent. Prolonged bruxism might damage your teeth, causing severe dental problems.