Bruxism is a common condition in which people grind, gnash, or otherwise clench their teeth. Many of us do it without even realizing it. Others do it in their sleep and wake up to aching jaws in the morning. This condition can range in severity from infrequent, minor clenching to outright grinding, and the effects of teeth grinding can vary from mild annoyances to serious issues that require the help of your dentist.
Don’t think that bruxism is dangerous? Consider this: the masseter, a.k.a. the cheek muscle that helps us chew, is one of the strongest muscles in our bodies. This strong muscle can have a huge effect on our jaws and oral health if bruxism isn’t addressed.
Bruxism can cause the following:
*Fractures in teeth
*Deterioration of the enamel
*Developing jaw joint disorders
While there is no real cure to bruxism, there are plenty of ways that you can prevent it or stop it while it’s happening. Follow our 6 tips below to help you with your bruxism!
Reduce Stress – Up to 70% of bruxism can be triggered by stress, making it one of the top causes of clenched teeth. If you feel like you’ve been clenching or grinding your teeth more often than usual lately, take steps to manage your stress. Try exercising, meditating, and even taking a relaxing warm bath before going to bed.
Tune in Frequently – Once in a while, check in with your body and see if your teeth are clenched for whatever reason. If so, take a deep breath and put your mouth in the at-rest position. Your lips should be closed with teeth slightly apart and the tip of your tongue elevated to the bump behind your upper teeth. Doing this can help lessen any tension you may have on your jaw muscles, and this action can easily become a habit, which can really curve your bruxism!
Wear a Mouth Guard – If you tend to grind your teeth while you sleep, consider wearing a mouth guard at night. It won’t make the problem go away, but it will certainly protect your teeth from any grinding that may occur. You can find mouth guards in stores, or you can get one custom-made from your dentist!
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol – If you suffer from bruxism, you’ll want to do your best to avoid these stimulants, especially in the evening. This includes coffee, certain kinds of tea, soda, and chocolate. These stimulants can negatively affect your sleep and can increase the likelihood of clenched teeth in the night.
Relax Before Bed – Take the time each night to wind down at least 30 minutes before bed. Doing so can make you less likely to experience bruxism while you sleep. Try reading a good book, listening to soothing music, dimming the lights, putting your smartphone and laptop away, and turning off the TV (sorry, Jimmy Fallon!).
Correct Any Misaligned Teeth – If your bruxism appears to be caused by issues with your teeth alignment, fixing the problem can help! Your dentist may fit your teeth with orthodontics or braces to correct your bite and alignment to help address the problem.
If you’re having issues with bruxism, be sure to request an appointment here at Foley Dental Group! You can call us at (618) 288-9670 or learn more about how we can help by visiting www.foleydentalgroup.com.