Most people grind their teeth from time to time, and while it’s not a great idea, it probably won’t have any lasting effects. However, there are some people who grind on a continual basis, called bruxism, and that can be detrimental to your teeth. It can lead to permanent damage to teeth and other oral health issues.
If you or your kids have continued teeth grinding issues, the first thing we usually recommend is getting fitted with a mouth guard. We can fit you at the dentist office, and you can wear the guard while you sleep to prevent your teeth from grinding.
Since wearing a mouth guard at night isn’t the “coolest” or most “glamorous” thing to do, once you get your mouth guard fitted and are wearing it, you should look into the root of the issue. If you can figure that out, you may be able to solve the problem that is causing you to grind your teeth in the first place.
A lot of people grind their teeth due to stress. De-stressing can significantly reduce this issue. Attend stress counseling, start an exercise program or see a physical therapist. If all else fails, it may be worth asking your doctor for a prescription for muscle relaxants.
You may need to wear a mouth guard or a mouth splint at night. These devices prevent tooth movement by evening out the pressure in your mouth.A mouth guard or splint also creates a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth to protect them from further damage. They also help reduce any grinding noises that you make at night.
Mouth guards are similar in appearance to those used in sports such as boxing. They are usually made out of bendy rubber or plastic and can be made by your dentist to fit your mouth. You will usually have to pay for this type of custom-made dental appliance.
Mouth guards are also available to buy from your local pharmacist. However, it is unlikely to fit as well as one that is made by your dentist.A mouth splint is made from harder plastic and fits precisely over your upper or lower teeth. A splint will usually be more expensive than a mouth guard.
What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth?
Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.
If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress. Attending stress counseling, starting an exercise program, seeing a physical therapist, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some of the options that may be offered.
Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:
Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.
Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
- Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
- Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
- Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.