Teeth Grinding: Why Does It Affect Your Dental Health?

Posted on: Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a dangerous habit that significantly affects your dental health. But most people don’t even realize they are vulnerable to the mashing, clenching, and gnashing actions that can wear down their teeth! Since the majority of grinding occurs during sleep, you may be one of the millions of Americans suffering from the consequences of bruxism without knowing it.

Look For These Signs of Bruxism

Bruxism is most commonly identified by teeth grinding and clenching motions that scrape the teeth together in an unpleasant way. This grinding and clenching is often loud enough for others to hear, especially sleeping partners. The results of bruxism are painful and noticeable:

  • Flattened and fractured teeth
  • Worn enamel
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw and facial pain
  • Recurring dull headaches
  • Indentations on the tongue
  • The sensation of an earache that does not actually originate in the ear

Bruxism Affects Your Dental Health in Many Ways

Chewing food, talking, smiling, and feeling confident are all made possible by a full and healthy set of teeth. Bruxism threatens the health of your teeth by wearing them down, sometimes to stumps. When your teeth become fractured, loose, or too dramatically damaged, you may find yourself needing bridges, crowns, implants, or even dentures in order to save your mouth and resolve your pain.

In addition to the direct damage to your teeth, bruxism also can lead to tension headaches, facial pain, and a condition called TMJ disorder that is defined by problems with the jaw and facial muscles. All of these problems cause enough pain to interrupt your daily activities and create unbearable suffering.

How to Prevent Teeth Grinding

The consequences of bruxism are frightening, but you are not resigned to that fate! Your holistic dentist can help you protect your teeth using a combination of strategies.

The most direct way to resolve bruxism is the use of a mouth guard. The Comfort H/S™ mouthguard, for instance, uses a soft polyurethane inner layer that rests comfortably along the teeth and gums, and a hard, durable copolyester outer layer to alleviate grinding and clenching. This mouthguard’s careful design can resolve the pain and damage caused by bruxism, especially severe tooth, jaw, and facial pain.

Certain lifestyle changes can also minimize the intensity of bruxism. Try cutting back on foods and beverages with caffeine and alcohol since they are known to cause the tension, anxiety, and aggression that commonly lead to grinding and clenching. It’s also a good idea to avoid chewing gum or biting on objects like pencils, pens, and nails. If you have a way to decrease the stress in your life, such as with essential oils, a relaxing bath, or better time management, you also improve your odds of decreasing teeth grinding.

At Natural and Cosmetic Dentistry in Clearwater, Florida, Dr. Carlson and Dr. Gilton offer the holistic solutions necessary to tackle teeth grinding in a comprehensive and long-lasting way. Call (727) 888-6523 to make an appointment now and get the help that you need!

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