Tips on How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

Many people grind their teeth, a condition known as bruxism, and for many people, it is simply a habit that is hard to break. However, bruxism can lead to numerous dental problems, including jaw pain and loose teeth so as soon as you realize you grind your teeth, there are steps you should take to stop doing it.

Reduce Stress

Stress is a common reason why people end up grinding their teeth. While there is little you can do to eliminate stress altogether, there are things you can do to reduce it that are safe for your mouth and overall health. For instance, you can start exercising more regularly and get plenty of sleep at night or join a meditation class or support group.

Perform Jaw Exercises

If you still notice you have bruxism, consider seeing a dental professional about getting some physical therapy. There are a number of jaw exercises you can perform on your own at home. This will relax your jaw and strengthen the muscles around it.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

A cup of coffee first thing in the morning is fine, and for some people it’s essential, but you should be careful not to overdo it. Too much caffeine can much you jumpy and jittery, increasing your odds of grinding your teeth. Alcohol also increases your desire to clench your jaw.

Wear a Custom Mouth Guard

There may be nothing you can really do to eliminate bruxism altogether. However, you can see your dentist about getting a mouth guard to wear at night. This device will protect your teeth from the effects of the grinding. You can get one custom built so that it fits perfectly over your teeth.

Bruxism may not seem like much at first, but it can lead to serious dental complications down the road. Nip the problem in the bud as soon as you notice it. By taking the necessary actions now, you will be doing yourself a lot of good in the future. 

What You Need to Know About Bruxism in Children

If you ever check on your children at night, you may notice that they are grinding their teeth. The official medical term for teeth grinding is “bruxism,” it can be pretty common in children and often takes place during sleep or times of stress. According to statistics, two to three out of ten kids clench and grind their teeth and jaw, but a majority of them will eventually outgrow it.

Triggers for Bruxism

The exact cause of bruxism has yet to be determined, but there are cases where children grind their teeth because their bottom teeth are improperly aligned. Other stressful times, such as teething and earaches, can be reasons for kids to clench their teeth in an effort to ease the discomfort.

Children can also become stressed by a shift in a normal routine or due to exterior factors like after-school activities, tests, and assignments in school. A child can also suffer if parents are arguing around them, causing them to react by clenching their jaw and grinding their teeth. There are also situations where children who are on certain mediations or suffer from medical conditions, including cerebral palsy, start to show signs of bruxism.  

Effects of Bruxism

A majority of children who develop bruxism do so without any negative effects and do eventually outgrow the condition, but there are instances where it can cause earaches or headaches and be an annoyance to family members and those around the child because of the sound of grinding teeth.

There are also situations where the child can clench or grind his teeth so much that he starts to wear away at tooth enamel, chip a tooth, experience sensitivity to temperatures and/or develop major jaw complications and facial pain. One example of jaw problems a child might suffer from because of bruxism is temporomandibular joint disease, otherwise known as TMJ. Unless and until bruxism becomes a chronic condition, it generally will not become TMJ.   

If your child has developed bruxism, make an appointment with your dentist to have them checked today.