Bruxism. An odd and funny word no doubt, but for roughly 10% of Americans bruxism is a serious problem. Bruxism is the involuntary grinding of teeth that usually occurs during sleep (but it can happen during waking hours as well). Many people who suffer from bruxism wake up unaware that they have been grinding their teeth all night, reporting no pain or soreness in their jaw. While this may seem harmless, it can be quite the opposite. Grinding your teeth can cause a whole slew of problems, including:
- Sore Teeth
- Sore Jaw
- Sore Neck/shoulders
- Cracked/Misaligned Teeth
- Receding Gums
- Misaligned jaw
As you can see grinding teeth is not a small issue and can affect more than just your teeth!
What Causes Bruxism?
This is a complicated question that researchers have been researching for years. The answer may not be as clean cut as you would imagine. There are many reasons that teeth grinding can start or stop in a person. For some, it is simply a habit that has carried over from childhood. For others, it is a problem of stress and anxiety. For the rest, it could be a plethora of things from gastro-intestinal problems to eating right before bed.
It is often challenging and frustrating trying to nail down the exact cause of grinding teeth. No one answer fits every case, and this can leave people feeling annoyed, angry, and even hopeless. However, worry not! There are ways to fix it even without knowing why it is happening!
How can I fix it?
Depending on the reason surrounding your teeth grinding your treatment could vary.
If your bruxism is stress or anxiety induced, there are several possible treatments. It is advised to pick up a sort of stress relieving hobby or, if possible, eliminate the stressors from your life altogether. It is also possible to treat anxiety and stress medically. Therapists can be a great resource for dealing with stress, and medication can be taken for anxiety (at your doctor’s discretion of course).
If your bruxism is something that has habitually carried over from childhood, then you will want to look into getting a mouth guard for sleeping. There are several different types of mouth guards out there to choose from so make sure you pick the one that is right for you. Some require a mold to be cast of your teeth and are reusable, while others are general fitting and disposable. You can buy a general fit mouthguard in stores like CVS and Walgreens, and they tend to be cheaper than custom, molded mouth guards. Molded mouth guards require a visit to your dentist and are more expensive upfront, but the overall effectiveness and longevity of the guard offset these in the long run.
Hands down getting a personal mouthguard is the best way to fix habitual teeth grinding during sleep.
Teeth Grinding in Children
The habit of grinding your teeth is something that often originates as a childhood habit. The surprising thing here is that studies have proven grinding your teeth is less detrimental for children. Their teeth and jaw are in a constant state of growing and changing so there is usually very little lasting damage caused by childhood teeth grinding. Thankfully, most children will grow out of this phase by adolescence. If your child has a habit of grinding their teeth, it is worth watching, but not something to be too concerned about yet. As they grow and develop into their teenage years, this issue does need to be looked into if not stopped.
Grinding your teeth is a simple, yet complex dental problem with several solutions. If you or someone you know suffers from bruxism you can rest easy knowing that this issue does not have to mean pain for the rest of your life. We hope you enjoyed this blog and as always feel free to reach out to us with any questions or to set up an appointment by calling the numbers listed on this web page, or by filling out the form on the right!