Do you grind your teeth? Or have you noticed that your loved ones do? Teeth grinding, otherwise known as Bruxism affects approximately 10 percent of the population in the UK. It can happen during the day and whilst you are asleep. It can be caused by a number of things, including stress and anxiety, an abnormal bite or even sleeping disorders.
Teeth grinding is bad news. If done on a regular basis your enamel will wear down, causing increased sensitivity. In severe cases it can result in loosening and even loss of teeth. In addition to this the joints of the jaw (known as the temporomandibular joints) can become irritated. This can cause headaches and earache and can contribute to a condition known as temporomandibular disorder, or TMD.
But fear not. Bruxism is treatable, and there are a number of things you can do to help yourself:
Use a mouth guard.
We can fit you a plastic guard. This will reduce damage caused by preventing your teeth from coming into contact with each other, and will even out pressure across the jaw. Contact us to book an appointment for a fitting.
Pay attention to how you are holding your jaw. If you notice that you are grinding your teeth during the day place the tip of your tongue between your teeth, this will help your jaw to relax.
Before bedtime hold a warm flannel or wheat bag against your jaw to relax it, specifically in front of your ear lobe.
Avoid or reduce the amount of caffeine, sugar and alcohol you consume as these can exacerbate the condition. Also avoid chewing gum as this can make the jaw tighter and encourage clenching at rest.
Stress can be a major cause of teeth grinding. It may be useful to look at ways of managing or eliminating certain stresses from your life. There are many ways to do this. Some options include: Exercising, taking a yoga class, meditation, having a bath, listening to classical music or even hypnotherapy. Psychological treatments such as CBT could also be beneficial.
Avoid smoking and recreational drugs.
Tobacco and certain recreational drugs such as Cocaine and MDMA can worsen the condition.
Avoid chewing non food items.
Chewing on pens and other items throughout the day like chewing gum will encourage tension in the jaw.
So there you have it. If you suspect you are grinding your teeth in your sleep but are not sure arrange and an appointment with us to check for the signs.