Did you know that up to 50% of Americans grind or clench their teeth while sleeping? Do you wake up with a headache, sore jaw, or sluggishness? Perhaps you don’t even know you grind your teeth. Maybe a spouse or loved one woke you up in the middle of the night and made you aware of what was happening.
Teeth grinding, known in the dental community as bruxism, is a serious concern. Bruxism stems from a variety of issues, but is most commonly a result of stress, misaligned bite, or irregular sleep patterns. For some people, it’s a habit they acquired when they were a child and never grew out of. And while it may only be headaches and a sore jaw at first, chronic grinding can cause cracked teeth, receding gums, misaligned jaw, and can wear your teeth down.
1. Have your bite evaluated
Have a dental checkup to help identify potential dental-related causes. We can check for signs of wear and misalignment that can be at the root of your habit, as well as suggesting other types of evaluations such as sleep studies to check for apnea.
2. Learn to manage your stress
Some people can handle stress naturally. For others, stress can cause significant health issues and habits, including teeth grinding. Consider yoga or meditation to calm yourself and relieve anxiety so you don’t subconsciously turn to grinding. If you grind during your sleep, try taking a relaxing bath before bed. regular exercise is also a great stress reliever.
3. Be aware
This tip may sound obvious, but try to pay attention to when and why you grind your teeth during the day. For instance, there may be a time of day or an event that triggers grinding. Once you identify the trigger, you can make a conscious effort to avoid grinding.
4. Rest your jaw muscles
If you have jaw discomfort or headaches, try massaging your jaw muscles or applying a warm compress to the jaw area to relax muscles and relieve pain. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can also help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
5. Wear a night guard
One of the best preventive measures for teeth grinding is wearing a night guard. PDG offers a couple of different styles of mouth guards to fit your individual needs. Each guard is custom designed so they fit comfortably based on each patient’s bite pattern. Worn at night, a mouth guard for teeth grinding can prevent the habit even when you aren’t aware it’s happening.
Preventive measures are the key to combating bruxism, and a visit to Petaluma Dental Group can set you on the right path to a healthy and restful night sleep.