Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can occur in children, teens, and adults—even seniors. In fact, approximately 15% to 33% of children grind their teeth. This usually happens either at the time they begin teething (tooth eruption) and during the time that their permanent teeth are emerging.
If you only clench or grind your teeth occasionally, then you probably won’t suffer any major consequences. But if you are a chronic teeth grinder, you may be damaging your teeth on a regular basis.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
In teens and adults, teeth grinding, especially at night, is often caused by stress or anxiety. Just because you are sleeping doesn’t mean that you are escaping the problems of your waking life. Teeth grinding can also be caused by an abnormal bite, missing or crooked teeth or a sleep disorder called sleep apnea.
How Do I Know If I Am Grinding My Teeth?
Some people may find out that they’re grinding their teeth because their sleeping partner wakes them up and tells them. Otherwise, you may not know if you have an issue. However, you may be experiencing some telltale symptoms of teeth grinding.
- People who grind their teeth often complain of the following symptoms.
Headaches / migraines
- Dull, continuous headache
- Jaw stiffness / soreness / tenderness
- Tooth sensitivity
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, make an appointment with your dentist. Your dental provider at Peace Haven Family Dentistry can inspect your teeth for any unusual wear and help create a solution that will help you feel better and sleep better.
Damage Caused by Teeth Grinding
Sometimes, repetitive teeth grinding can result in loose teeth, fractured (broken) teeth or complete tooth loss. If not caught early, frequent tooth grinding can wear teeth down to stumps, which will then affect your ability to eat and chew properly. You can also be susceptible to TMJ. And if you are losing teeth, the shape of your face can also be affected.
How Peace Haven Family Dentistry Can Help You
The good news is that teeth grinding can be managed. This destructive and most often unintentional habit can be managed once the cause of your teeth grinding is addressed: breathing, teeth positioning, stress, etc.
To help manage your teeth grinding, your dental provider may give you a mouth guard, or night guard, which will protect your teeth while you are sleeping.
If your teeth grinding is caused by stress or anxiety, you may want to look at ways to reduce your stress levels.
- Lower caffeine intake
- Avoid alcohol
- Self-calming techniques
Either way, your dental provider at Peace Haven Family Dentistry can help you get to the bottom of your teeth grinding and determine a solution that will work for you.