What is Bruxism

Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, clench, or gnash your teeth. It can be caused by stress or anxiety. It often happens during the day when you’re tired or distracted. But it can also occur at night while you’re sleeping  Bruxism can also be caused by certain medical conditions, such as the temporomandibular joint. (TMJ) disorder. Bruxism can also occur in people who have a habit of clenching their jaw, teeth, or lips. Teeth grinding sounds like a simple problem, but it can lead to a wide range of unwanted side effects.

Why Do You Grind Your Teeth?

Bruxism is not a new condition and it’s been around for as long as humans have been on this planet. Most persons grind their teeth when they are tensed or stressed; either when they are awake or sleeping.

But the fact that there are so many different causes of this problem means that the best treatment is usually determined by the cause. Teeth grinding is a condition that affects a person’s mouth muscles and causes them to repeatedly clench their teeth together.

Who Are at Risk Of Grinding Their Teeth?

People of different ages can grind their teeth. Teeth grinding can also be seen among kids and teens. But according to research, teeth grinding is more common among geriatrics, this is because as we age, our bodies produce more cortisol, a hormone that can cause a lot of stress in our lives, and this can trigger the teeth grinding act. Thus is necessary to manage stress at old age, both mentally and physically.

Common Causes Of Bruxism

Bruxism is caused by a wide range of different conditions,  bruxism is an isolated problem, it can be caused by;

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Sleep apnea
  • TMJ disorder

How Do Teeth Grinding Affect Your Teeth?

When you grind your teeth, you end up clenching your jaw tightly which causes tension to build up in your jaw muscles. This leads to tiny cracks and fissures in your teeth, which may cause your teeth to become sensitive or even painful. The damage that’s caused by teeth grinding can also lead to enamel erosion, loss of your teeth, and gum disease.

Symptoms Of Teeth Grinding

One of the symptoms of grinding your teeth is that your mouth may feel tight and sore. You may notice that you have a constant headache, especially if you grind during the day. The worst thing about teeth grinding is that it’s one of the most common reasons that people lose their teeth. It’s estimated that about 90% of all teeth are lost due to this disorder.

5 Long and Short Effects Effects Of Teeth Grinding. 

Teeth grinding can cause some unpleasant side effects here are the five most common side effects that you can experience when you start grinding your teeth;

  • Temporo Mandibular Joint Pain

When you grind your teeth, you are using your jaw to force your teeth together. This causes a lot of stress and tension to be placed on your jaw, as well as the muscles surrounding your jaws. And if your jaw is tense for a long time, it will cause a lot of wear and tear to the muscles and ligaments in your jaw, as well as the temporomandibular and also the joints in your face.

This means that over time, you may start feeling pain and discomfort in your face and jaw. Your jaw can start to feel strained. And while this is uncomfortable, this is why it is important to talk to a dentist and get your grinding habits evaluated. You may need to look into some alternative solutions, such as using a nightguard or even getting braces or other dental appliances.

  • Canker Sores

When you grind your teeth, the nerves in your mouth can become irritated, which causes soreness and pain in and around your mouth. This can lead to canker sores, which are usually caused by an inflammation of the mucous membranes. These sores can be really painful, and they can also spread to other parts of your mouth, making them hard to treat.

  • Bad Breath

If you are grinding your teeth while you are sleeping, you can end up having bad breath. And this is because your teeth are still grinding when you are asleep, which can cause your tongue to move back and forth in your mouth. This can cause bacteria to grow, which can make your breath smell bad.

  • Loss Of Teeth 

The process of grinding your teeth is bringing friction to your teeth, and this causes the wearing away of your teeth’ enamel. When this happens for a long time part of your teeth structure will be lost and you can eventually lose that tooth. Or the tooth will lose its functionality.

  • Teeth Sensitivity

Grinding your teeth exposes a part of your teeth known as the dentine; the dentine is more sensitive to changes in temperature because of the tiny pores they have, thus when you grind your teeth you will lose your teeth enamel and the dentine will be greatly exposed leading to mild to severe teeth sensitivity. Teeth Sensitivity as a result of grinding your teeth can be a long-term effect that will take some time to manage.

How To Treat Bruxism

Fortunately, there are a number of different treatments used to manage bruxism but it all depends on finding the cause of it, below are the different ways to treat bruxism;

  • Stress Management:

In many cases, bruxism is caused by stress and other mental health issues, therefore managing stress is part of the treatment, If you suffer from bruxism and you’re experiencing any of the symptoms, it’s important to look for some relief as soon as possible.

  • Resting Your Jaw 

Resting your jaw is a great way to get rid of teeth grinding. This may be harder than you think, but you have to try as much as possible because when your jaw clenches up, it’s hard to let go of that tension. But if you can relax your jaw, your teeth will have a much easier time adjusting to this new position. You can also try sleeping on a firm surface, such as a table or a thick pillow. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you may want to avoid using soft pillows that will make it easier for your mouth muscles to clench up.

  •  Using an Ice Pack 

Having difficulty falling asleep is another easier way that can lead you to grind your teeth. Therefore, if you find it difficult to sleep you can try using an ice pack; especially If you’re feeling any pain in your neck, jaw, or head. You can use a moist ice pack for this purpose but if you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest because of headaches or other symptoms, it’s important that you don’t use a dry ice pack. A wet ice pack will work much better.

  • Using Pain Reliever 

When you’re having trouble falling asleep, it may help to take an over-the-counter pain reliever. This can help relieve some of the stress and tension that might cause your mouth muscles to clench up. One of the best options to help treat bruxism is a pain reliever such as ibuprofen; as prescribed but there is also over-the-counter pain delivers you can take such as acetaminophen.

  • Take a Relaxing Bath  Before Sleeping

Another way to ease the clenching of your jaw muscles is to take a relaxing bath before going to bed, this will help relax your jaw and will allow your teeth to rest in a better position. You should soak in a bathtub filled with about 4-6 inches of warm water. If you have trouble falling asleep due to stress or anxiety, it may be better to avoid a hot bath that could aggravate your symptoms.

  • Calming Your Mind

When your mind is not relaxed there’s a tendency that you will clench your teeth, therefore relaxing your mind would help you; there are many ways you can relax your mind such as through meditation; If you’re having trouble falling asleep because of stress or anxiety, you may want to try a form of meditation. You can meditate by sitting in a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. Using visualization techniques,  For example, you can imagine that you’re relaxing in a beautiful place, such as the beach. By thinking about this, you’ll be able to relax more quickly.

  • Using a Dental Appliances

There are different types of dental appliances that can be used to manage teeth grinding, such as getting a mouth guard, these dental appliances will be designed for you by your dentist in the dental clinic. You will need to wear the dental appliance every day while going to bed until the bruxism urge is stopped. You need to tell your partner to remind of wearing it every day.

When Should You See a Dentist About Bruxism?

Bruxism is not considered a medical disorder, but it can lead to other health problems if left untreated.  Thus, you should see the dentist if you grind your teeth, but experience severe teeth sensitivity or sores around your mouth, these conditions need dental attention.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can children also grind their teeth?

Yes; children can also grind their teeth, they can learn this habit as a sign of reacting to an act of adapting to an environment, therefore pay close attention to your kids and also take them to the dentist when you notice any signs of teeth grinding on their teeth.

Can teeth grinding stop on their own?

No, teeth grinding needs your effort and dental counseling to stop.

Can teeth grinding cost me my relationship?

Yes, teeth grinding produces an annoying sound during the process and some people find it difficult to endure the sound your teeth make while grinding together, But the good news is that your dentist can help you manage it and you can have your relationship back.