People who compulsively grind or grit their teeth are suffering from a condition called bruxism. Typically, teeth grinding will occur at night while you are asleep, but some people actually grind their teeth during the day as well. In addition, they do not even realize they are doing it.
Dangers of Grinding Your Teeth
If you suffer from teeth grinding at night, there is a chance that you might also have other sleep disorders—some of the sleep disorders that are associated with bruxism, including snoring and sleep apnea.
Why Grinding your Teeth Can be Dangerous
Many people do not think that grinding their teeth is that big of a deal. They often write it off as a nervous habit that they have and do not give it much thought. Other people might be doing it throughout the day and night and not even realize it. The problem is that teeth grinding can cause permanent damage. If you are a teeth grinder, it is essential to take notice and try to stop this habit as soon as possible. Some of the issues that you might suffer from as a result of bruxism include:
- Tooth loss
- Temporomandibular joint syndrome
- Loose teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Facial changes
- Locked jaw
- Gum recession
All of these things can be brutal to how your teeth look. You may stop smiling as a result of not wanting to show your teeth. Grinding your teeth can also affect the muscles of your face, which can lead to a lot of pain down the road. Early detection of this problem and intervention is critical.
Common Causes of Teeth Grinding
Every person is different, and there is no specific cause for teeth grinding. However, some factors are commonly associated with it. Some of the factors that might increase your risk of bruxism include:
Stress can cause many health issues. It is commonly associated with health issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease. When you are feeling fear, your body will respond to the tension in negative ways. Anger and frustration are collective. When you are angry, you might clench your jaw. Those who lead very stressful lives are commonly diagnosed with teeth grinding.
Sleep Apnea occurs when a person stops breathing throughout the night. This can be a hazardous disorder on its own. People who suffer from severe sleep apnea often need a breathing machine to help them through the night. Additionally, people who suffer from sleep apnea are likely to suffer from bruxism as well.
Taking certain medications could cause a person to start grinding their teeth. This side effect is not common, but there are some psychiatric medications such as anti-depressants that come with the side effect of grinding your teeth.
Young children are more likely to suffer from bruxism than adults. Typically, children who suffer from teeth grinding will stop by the time they are adults.
There are several disorders that bruxism has been associated with; this includes both mental health and medical issues. ADD/ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and epilepsy are associated with teeth grinding.
Treatment for Teeth Grinding
There are several different options for treatment if you suffer from teeth grinding. Your dentist can discuss the options that are available for your particular case. Some of the options include:
A mouthguard is the most common treatment for those suffering from bruxism. Your dentist will be able to fit one to your mouth. You can purchase one from the store, but these do not typically work as well. Most dentists will have you wear your mouthguard at night. If day grinding is a problem for you, your dentist might have you wear it during the day as well.
If your teeth grinding is caused by tension in your jaw, a dentist might prescribe a muscle relaxer. These medications will help you relax your jawbone, which can prevent grinding and clenching.
Another option for jaw tension and the pain associated with bruxism are injections. These can help with the pain and clenching that is associated with teeth grinding.
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