Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a condition that affects many people. It causes tension in the jaw, which leads to clenching and grinding of the teeth. Patients who grind their teeth at night are often unaware of this habit, so they don’t realize it’s causing damage to their smile. This often goes unnoticed until there are more serious repercussions like broken or cracked teeth, jaw pain, or even headaches. When patients are aware of bruxism, they can seek help from their dentists before the teeth are damaged further.
Patients can try to reduce or prevent bruxing by practicing good oral hygiene habits like daily brushing and flossing and avoiding foods that are high in sugar or starch. If patients are grinding their teeth during the day, they should avoid chewing gum or eating hard foods like grapefruits or carrots that can cause damage to the teeth. Avoid chewing gum, which can increase your risk of bruxism. If you must chew gum, try sugarless gum and avoid chewing it for a long time at a time.
If left untreated, bruxism can lead to a number of problems that can compromise your oral health. The repeated pressure of clenching or grinding the teeth erodes the tooth structure and leads to chipping or even cracking of the enamel. This weakens the teeth and increases your risk of tooth decay and even tooth loss. Cracked teeth are also susceptible to infection if left untreated. Additionally, the pressure on the jaw and the surrounding muscles can also lead to chronic headaches or pain in the face or neck. Finally, tooth grinding can cause significant damage to dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, and bridges.
Talk to your dentist about other treatment options for bruxism. You may need to wear a night guard at night to prevent teeth grinding, but your dentist may recommend other treatments as well. Your dentist can make an impression on your teeth and create a custom mouthpiece that will protect your teeth from damage. Practice relaxation methods such as meditation or yoga to help you reduce stress levels before bed. Stress and anxiety may increase your likelihood of grinding your teeth.
To learn more about ways to maintain good oral health, please reach out to the dental office located in San Mateo, CA 94401 at (650) 342-8618, and we’ll be happy to help.