Do you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw and a headache? You’re most likely grinding your teeth at night.
You may have been told you grind your teeth, especially if you share a room with a partner or roommate. But if you sleep by yourself, you could be in the dark about this tooth and jaw problem.
It’s important to know the symptoms whether or not you know about your teeth grinding. Why? Read on!
What Is Bruxism Or Teeth Grinding?
Bruxism or teeth grinding is when a person grinds, clenches or gnashes their teeth unconsciously while asleep. In rare instances, people with bruxism clench their teeth when they are awake too.
Why? Stress. Stress is the main cause of bruxism. It can be due to physical or emotional stressors. Physical stress can include internal factors that pertain to your overall health, fitness, nutrition and sleep habits. In contrast, emotional stress may come from external factors such as work, relationships, personal challenges and many more.
Here are the signs and symptoms of bruxism:
- Jaw pain
- Locked jaw
- Damaged enamel and other protective layers of the teeth
- Worn, loose, chipped, cracked or sensitive teeth
- Cracked or chipped implants
- Loud grinding sounds, but take note that it’s also possible to grind teeth silently
Grinding your teeth can destroy the surrounding gum and bone tissue if not treated. It can also lead to serious jaw problems like temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ).
Do you have children? They may also experience bruxism, so make sure you mention this to their dentist at their next dental appointment.
How To Stop Grinding Your Teeth
There’s currently no cure for bruxism, but there are ways to help minimize the damage it does to your mouth and jaw.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Try to rest and relax. We know that’s easier said than done. Do an activity that relaxes you every day before you go to sleep; maybe a nice hot bath or reading a book. Find something that calms you to reduce stress. Seek professional help, they can suggest strategies on how you can better handle stress and anxiety. Lastly, press a warm, wet washcloth against your jaw before bed - this will help relax the muscles in your face.
- Get a night guard. These are custom-fitted by a dentist. Night guard trays are placed over your teeth when you sleep to protect them from damage.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine keeps you from having a deep sleep or getting any at all! Staying away from caffeine can help you get a better night’s sleep and will help you relax.
- Visit your dentist. Your dentist can recommend jaw exercises, offer more tips on how to help stop bruxism and provide treatment options.
Mouth Guard For Teeth Grinding In Winnipeg
Kildonan Crossing Dental Centre is a Transcona dental clinic that offers custom-fitted night guards. We also provide pediatric dentistry in Winnipeg, and we can fit one for your little ones as well. If you’ve been clenching your teeth at night, it’s time to book a dental appointment.