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Saturday, June 15, 2013

What should I do about teeth grinding?

Teeth grinding, also referred to as bruxism, is a common problem. While you may not realize you are bearing down hard with your teeth each night, grinding them together in your sleep, you could be keeping your family up with the noise.

If you live alone and wonder if you are a victim of bruxism, waking up with a sore jaw or dull headache could be indicators that you habitually grind your teeth. When this occurs on a regular basis, it can lead to harmful effects.

What are the effects of teeth grinding?

Teeth grinding can result in the following:
  •  damage to teeth or dental work
  •  the need for a root canal or dentures due to damage
  •  TMJ, soreness or locking of the jaw
  • Hearing loss
  • Migraine headaches
  • Alteration of the face's appearance
What can be done to stop teeth grinding?

If you know bruxism is a problem, or your dentist has confirmed your suspicions, there are solutions to teeth grinding. A dental guard is one of the most common places to start. A dental guard is used to protect your teeth from harm. While it will not stop your grinding, it will keep your teeth from wearing down. There are several types of mouth guards, including stock mouth guards, boil and bite guards, and custom-made guards. A dentist will recommend using a custom-made guard that is tailored to fit your mouth. You'll have the most comfort, allowing you to breathe easily and sleep better with a guard that has the perfect fit. Your dentist may even recommend a bite splint or nocturnal bite plate, which also helps reposition your jaw, for the best results.

You need to avoid stress!

Using a dental night guard for teeth grinding is all well and good, but you want to get to the root of the problem and stop the grinding. Stress is a common cause of bruxism. Do things that you really enjoy. Consider going to therapy to relieve your stress, exercising regularly, or trying yoga. You can also go for regular massage to help your body to relax. Soothe your jaw before bed by pressing a warm washcloth to your jaw by your earlobe. Stretch and massage your jaw muscles as well before turning in. Avoid exercise shortly before bed because it will make it harder to sleep. Relaxing music and a book before bed are other good ways to wind down.

Make lifestyle changes!

There are lifestyle changes you can make as well when it comes to bruxism. One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself is to cut out the caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the body and the grinding process. Alcohol has been known to aggravate the condition and should be avoided. If you find yourself chewing on pens or pencils, it is time to stop. Chewing gum actually trains the teeth to grind together and should be avoided. Be conscious of your habits. If you catch yourself clenching your jaw during the day, force yourself to stop. Add extra calcium and magnesium to your diet through foods or supplements. They will promote healthy bones, muscles, and nervous system functioning. With diligent effort, you can stop teeth grinding and have a peaceful night's rest once more.

The above entry is a guest blog entry.

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