Whether you’re aware that you clench your teeth, or you just have unexplained headaches, tooth grinding can affect more than your sleep habits.
Grinding and clenching your teeth, also referred to as bruxism, can actually wear down your teeth’s enamel causing serious tooth injuries. Left untreated, you might find yourself back at the dental office sooner than you had hoped.
Causes of Bruxism While there are many causes, the two prominent reasons are stress and abnormal alignment of your jaw.
Symptoms of Bruxism:
- Headaches after waking from sleep
- Unexplained pain in the jaw area
- Muscle aches around jaw or neck
- Grinding sounds during your sleep
- A “popping” or “clicking” noise when opening your mouth
Ways to Improve Bruxism:
- Jaw exercises. Ask your dentist to recommend jaw exercises that might help loosen your jaw muscles.
- Mouth guards. They’re not just for sports; they can be worn to sleep too. With various sizes, colors and materials, you can find a mouth guard that works best for you. Wearing a mouth guard will help create a protective barrier between your grinding teeth at night.
- Relax. Sometimes bruxism can stem from stress. Do you notice yourself clenching your teeth at work or a high-stress situation? This might translate at night. Try to do something to wind down before you go to bed.
If you experience any of these symptoms but you haven’t found relief, talk to your dentist about alternative options and mouth guard suggestions.