Teeth grinding is a very common problem. Most people mildly grind their teeth at some point during the day. Occasional teeth grinding or clenching does not pose a threat to your oral health, however habitual teeth grinding can cause major problems for your teeth, jaw and mouth.
Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding. Many people don’t realize they have a grinding or clenching problem because most commonly the problematic grinding happens at night while sleeping. Often times a spouse or loved one will be kept awake by the sound of grinding teeth. Other teeth grinders suffer from dull headaches or sore jaws. If you suspect you have a grinding problem or someone tells you you’re grinding, it is important to talk to your dentist or dental professional.
Chronic bruxism can cause more problems than sleepless nights, sore jaws and headaches. Excessive grinding can actually wear down your teeth, produce tooth fractures or loosen your teeth. Grinding has been linked to problematic tooth loss. Patients who struggle with severe grinding can develop jaw problems, hearing loss and TMJ.
The most common cure for grinding your teeth is a professionally designed mouth guard. Your dentist can take impressions of your mouth and teeth to create a custom fitted night guard that will protect your teeth from the harmful effects of grinding. Other tips to help eliminate problematic teeth grinding include cutting back on food and drinks that contain caffeine, limiting the intake of alcoholic beverages, lessen chewing gum usage, and stop biting on non food items like pencils and pens.