Teeth Grinding – A Bigger Problem Than You Realize

There are a number of steps you can take to prevent tooth grinding, aka bruxism. Teeth grinding is a way to cope with stress since it releases endorphins in your brain, causing you to feel good.

Since teeth grinding is so common, it can be easily viewed as nothing more than a minor annoyance. Sure, there are those extreme cases where people are forced to wear dentures at 50, but does it matter for most people? While the extreme cases are rare, according to experts, grinding on a regular basis is definitely not something to ignore.

Extreme cases are referred to as “extreme” mainly because they don’t happen to everyone. Most people will grind their teeth occasionally and never develop any dental issues from it. Even those who regularly grind isn’t necessarily predestined for early dentures. But if they are constantly grinding over time, it can lead to pretty intense wear and tear.

You could not only experience cracks in your teeth, but also bone loss around the roots of your teeth and even loss of the teeth themselves. The excessive force that occurs when you grind your teeth can cause cracks, which means you’ll need dental care for either a filling to an extraction.

Tooth grinding can also lead to pain in the joints around your jaw and migraines caused by the force of your jaw muscles. The jaw muscles want to be in a comfortable position and when they aren’t, the muscles will start to uneasily shift back and forth to find that relaxed position.

Behavioral Modifications for Teeth Grinding

Tips to help prevent teeth grinding include:

  • Cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, like sodas, chocolate, and coffee.
  • Cut back on alcohol, which can cause grinding to intensify
  • Avoid or find the lowest effective dose or medications containing amphetamines use in treating ADHD and sleep disorders.
  • Avoid chewing for long periods of time, especially with gum, which allows your jaw muscles to get used to clenching
  • Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth, which means that you have to practice training your jaw muscles to relax.
  • Relax jaw muscles at night. Try holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.

Additionally, you can ask your dentist to fit you with a mouth guard, which can help protect your teeth when you sleep. Mouthguards are coverings worn over teeth and are used to protect teeth from injury from teeth grinding and sports. Give Foothill Dental Care a call today at (925) 961-5484 to learn how we can help you!

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