Stress and Teeth Grinding
In today’s fast-paced society, there are few of us who actually live a stress-free life. Unfortunately, stress can manifest itself in ways that harm your health. Subconscious habits like teeth grinding are very common among adults and even children. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can happen during the day, but it is often a nighttime occurrence. Bruxism is derived from the Greek word that means “gnashing of teeth.” As its name insinuates, teeth grinding can be quite destructive.
A nightly habit of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw can cause the enamel of your teeth to wear down. Remember that your enamel cannot rebuild or repair itself. In addition, the TMJ (or jaw joint) can be especially strained and overworked in patients who grind.
Since teeth grinding is usually a subconscious habit, you may not be aware that you do it while you sleep. Many patients are told by their bed partner about their disruptive habit. However, if you don’t have someone to reveal your problem, there are some common warning signs of bruxism to encourage you to seek treatment:
• Tightening, pain or soreness in the jaw muscles upon waking
• Unexplained tension headache
• A wearing of your natural teeth on the biting surfaces
• Broken fillings
• Injured gums (in severe cases)
For some, teeth grinding symptoms can be relieved by reducing stress, whether that is exercising more, meditating daily, eating better or speaking with a counselor. However, many patients need a custom night guard to protect their smile and treat their teeth grinding habit effectively. At Gilreath Dental Associates, we proudly offer high quality, comfortable mouthguards so that your sleep and smile are restored the way you deserve.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates