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What Happens When You Grind Your Teeth?

Revitalizing Smiles Toothache

Most people grind their teeth in their sleep and are unaware of their chronic teeth grinding habits. Studies show that around 8% of adults suffer from Bruxism (teeth grinding).

And while it might not be harmful, excessive grinding of your teeth can cause concerning oral health issues. Keep reading to learn why people grind their teeth, dental health issues associated with teeth grinding, and what you can do to stop.

Symptoms

So how do you know if you’re one of the 8% of people that grinds their teeth at night? Well, you may experience headaches and pain or stiffness in your jaw or neck area. You may also suffer from earaches, unexplained worn-down teeth, or damaged/chipped teeth.

Your dentist will also be able to tell during an oral exam by looking for tenderness in your mouth and wear on your teeth. 

Why Do You Grind Your Teeth?

There are a number of reasons why someone might grind their teeth. The reason might not be clear, however, there are lifestyle factors that have been linked to teeth grinding. Most commonly, it is due to excessive stress and anxiety. It could also be because of medications you are on, alcohol use, or sleep problems. 

Dental Health Concerns

According to the Chicago Tribune, “chewing exerts 20 to 40 pounds on the teeth, but the pressure from grinding can be 250 pounds or more.” That’s a whole lot of pressure you’re putting on your teeth and jaw! And while your jaw and enamel are both extremely strong, they are not indestructible. Teeth grinding can cause dental health concerns such as tooth loss, chipped teeth, loss of fillings, and tooth sensitivity from being worn down.

How Can You Stop Grinding Your Teeth?

According to Web MD, there are things you can do to stop grinding your teeth, get quick relief, and experience better sleep. Web MD suggests the following:

  • Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.
  • Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
  • Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
  • Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
  • Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.

Make An Appointment

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of teeth grinding, it’s time to see a dentist. At Revitalizing Smiles, you’ll always find friendly, professional staff that will go out of their way to ensure your visit to the dentist is a happy one! We provide services to every member of your family, regardless of whether they are one year old or 100. Our goal is to be your one-stop dental office for your whole family. We welcome patients from Fairfield, Trumbull, Monroe, Westport, Bridgeport, and Greenwich and all over the tri-state area. Make an appointment today at our Fairfield, CT office, and let our team give you a reason to smile again!

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