Having damage done to your teeth is never fun, but you may be actively harming your own teeth without even realizing it. Grinding teeth can start to wear down the enamel, cause cracks in your teeth, and may even cause tooth and jaw pain over time.
How can you know if you're unintentionally grinding your teeth, and how can you prevent yourself from harming your teeth further?
Luckily, there are ways that you can deduce you may be grinding your teeth. Here are some of the signs of teeth grinding and how you can stop.
The Dangers of Teeth Grinding at Night
Whether you realize you're doing it or not, grinding your teeth during the day or at night can cause a lot of serious damage to your teeth. This is often caused by stress and mostly happens at night, though it can also be due to your teeth being aligned poorly. Pay close attention to these signs if you suspect you may be grinding your teeth.
Worn or Painful Teeth
Grinding your teeth can cause the enamel to start to wear down over time, making your teeth dull or in pain. In the worst-case scenario, you can wear your teeth down to the point of severe tooth pain.
If you've noticed that your teeth are causing you serious pain without knowing why you may be wearing your teeth down by grinding them.
Chipped or Cracked Teeth
The pressure from teeth grinding can cause your teeth to chip or crack from stress. Do you have any cracks in your teeth without knowing where they came from? If so, you may be grinding your teeth.
Tooth pain and grinding your teeth can lead to headaches throughout the day. The unneeded stress in your jaw and teeth creates headaches, especially in the space right behind and between the eyes.
Jaw Dislocation, Locking, or Popping
Teeth grinding can cause issues with your jaw, resulting in dislocation, locking, or a popping sound when you move your jaw from side to side. Should you notice that your jaw is behaving strangely, you have a pretty clear sign that you're grinding your teeth.
Damage on the Inside of Your Cheek
Teeth grinding can lead to accidental bites to the insides of your cheeks during the night. Are your cheeks in pain or even bleeding when you wake up? If so, you may be grinding your teeth.
How to Stop Teeth Grinding
While some of the effects of teeth grinding may require you to see a dentist for help, there are some methods you can use to stop yourself from grinding your teeth. Follow these tips to help keep your teeth from getting more damaged.
To avoid wearing down and cracking your teeth during the night, you may want to invest in a nighttime mouth guard for your teeth. A dentist can fit you with a custom mouthguard so that your teeth won't grind against each other, though it is possible to buy a regular nighttime mouthguard at retail stores.
For a more comfortable fit, talk with your dentist about getting yourself a nighttime mouthguard today!
Having a regular exercise routine during the day will help you be more relaxed come nighttime. As teeth grinding is often caused by stress, just getting your energy out during the day can help you grind your teeth less at night by reducing stress. Be sure to exercise early on in the day so that you can still get a good night's rest!
Spend Time Meditating or Relaxing Before Bed
If you struggle to fall asleep, then you may want to use some time before sleeping to meditate or perform a relaxing activity. Avoid using screens that emit blue light, such as laptops, phones, and televisions to help yourself rest and prepare for sleep.
By getting yourself more prepared for rest, you can help reduce your stress levels and keep yourself from grinding your teeth during the night.
Try to Be Aware of Jaw Clenching
While a lot of teeth grinding happens at night, you should try to become aware of stress and tension in your jaw during the day as well. Some people do tend to grind their teeth when distracted performing everyday activities, so becoming aware of your teeth is a great way to stop yourself.
If you do notice your jaws tensing a lot or that you have stress buildup, massaging your jaw muscles can help to relieve that stress. When you find yourself grinding your teeth, just give yourself a few moments to relieve the tension in your jaw before going back to what you were doing.
Avoid Chewy Foods and Biting Non-Food Items
Do you eat a lot of chewy foods, candies, or have a tendency to bite pens, pencils, and other objects you're working with? If so, you may want to put a stop to those behaviors.
Eating chewy foods and biting non-food items can condition your brain to equate relaxing with biting, causing you to grind your teeth without realizing it. It also forces your jaw to clench, which can create tension later on.
If you must chew something, try switching over to something easy to chew, such as chips or fruit. Avoiding overly chewy foods will help relieve tension in your jaw and keep you from being tempted to grind your teeth.
Grind to a Halt
Grinding teeth can have serious effects on your dental hygiene, so it's important to start being aware of your habits as soon as you realize you're grinding your teeth. Keep these ideas in mind to help you keep your teeth healthy and strong!
Have you noticed issues with your teeth that you need help fixing, or are curious about getting a fitted nighttime mouthguard?
Be sure to contact us for any tooth-related problems you may have today, and continue reading our blog for more dental hygiene tips!
Upland Dental Implant and Orthodontics