Teeth grinding or, in medical terms, bruxism, is a condition of grinding or clenching the teeth in such a way that the upper and lower teeth constantly rub against each other. Bruxism is a common condition, affecting nearly one in three people of all ages, from childhood to adulthood.
Although this condition is mainly present at night, it is then called sleep bruxism, unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth can also occur during the day, or awake bruxism. We’re going to look at the symptoms, causes, and simple ways to remedy teeth grinding.
How do you know if you grind your teeth?
Unless observed and informed by others present at night, few people know that they grind or clench their teeth, until they feel pain or discomfort. Whether you grind your teeth day or night, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of this condition before it gets worse and complications develop.
As teeth grinding affects the bones, muscles and nerves of the face, especially the teeth and gums, excessive pressure applied for a prolonged period of time causes irritation of the nerves and subsequently symptoms of pain or increased tooth sensitivity.
Grinding also wears down tooth enamel and causes teeth to flatten, fracture or chip. Jaw, neck, and facial muscles are also stiff and sore throughout the day, leading to dull headaches that begin in the temples when chewing. Other symptoms are disruption of sleep and daily life, as this condition makes it difficult to sleep or function normally.
Why do we grind our teeth?
There are many reasons why we grind our teeth, from a biological and neurological point of view, and the disorders can arise from several of these reasons.
People with misaligned teeth or poorly positioned jaws are prone to teeth grinding. Mental health is also a reason – especially people who are at risk of suffering from anxiety disorders or depression or who have been diagnosed as such. The level of stress that builds up over a period of time affects your ability to sleep and relax, which then leads to the intensity of teeth grinding and clenching. Unhealthy habits like smoking, overconsumption of alcohol and caffeine also contribute to bruxism.
Here are the treatment options to adopt in case of bruxism.
Even though bruxism is a parafunctional habit over which one has no control, there are multiple treatment options to cure teeth grinding without resorting to cosmetic procedures, depending on the severity and intensity of the problem. affection. Children adapt and learn quickly when they are young, so guiding and instilling good dental habits early on is crucial.
Use mouth guards:
A widely used conventional treatment for teeth grinding is a custom-made mouth/night guard or bite splint, designed to be worn overnight to reduce grinding and protect your teeth from further damage.
Although mouth guards have not been proven to completely stop grinding, it is possible to provide some feedback to the central nervous system that could reduce the intensity of grinding. The fitting of a mouth guard is done at the dentist, who takes an impression of your teeth in order to adapt them perfectly.
If you grind your teeth and have considered getting aligners, such as invisible braces, don’t hesitate to consult your dentist about your options.
Relax your jaw muscles:
Combined with mouth guards, massages are effective in relieving the effects of bruxism and, if done well, can cure teeth grinding.
Too tense jaw muscles increase teeth grinding. It is therefore good to massage them daily to release the tension of the masticatory muscles. Start with a jaw stretch – fully open and close your jaw for 10 reps, then open your mouth and move your jaw from side to side for another 10 reps.
Then use the pads of your fingers and rub along your jawline in a circular motion, pressing and holding the areas that have tight knots. Move from the upper jaw to the lower jaw, continuing to press these trigger points.
Reduce your stress level:
Stress is definitely one of the main causes of bruxism and it is unavoidable in today’s global climate. Although it’s almost impossible to stop someone from stressing out, there are many stress-reducing activities, such as exercise, reading, and meditation, that can help relieve stress.
After all of this, you may still feel like things are out of your control right now, and you may continue to feel overwhelmed.
The key is to recognize and accept that you cannot completely eliminate stress, but to strive to manage and release it properly. As with physical health, it is equally important to maintain good mental health.