It’s been estimated that as many as 96% of adults experience tooth grinding at some point in their life. For most of these people, the grinding (bruxism) goes unnoticed because it occurs at night. Bruxism has a reputation as a damaging and permanently harmful habit, and there are a number of products on the market to minimize the damage. For many, however, the question still remains – is grinding your teeth really that bad?
Bad for Your Teeth
Perhaps the most obvious damage that bruxism can cause is to your teeth. The physical grinding can wear down the enamel on your teeth, which can often lead to more sensitive teeth and can increase your likelihood of developing cavities. This habit can also eventually lead to cracked or chipped teeth. The pressure put on the support system of your teeth can also cause your gums to recede, which over time can lead to a weakening of the top, cervical part of your tooth
Bad for Your Jaw
Bruxism isn’t just bad for your teeth – it can also lead to serious jaw problems. Commonly, bruxism will lead to a condition called TMD, more commonly referred to as TMJ. The symptoms of this condition include an inability to fully open your mouth, locking of your jaws, pain when you open or close your mouth, and many more.
How Can I Avoid Tooth Grinding?
While the exact causes of bruxism are varied, the condition is most often caused by either stress, or due to an abnormal bite. If you believe you suffer from bruxism, or if your Ventura dentist has noticed signs of teeth grinding, there are some effective ways to stop or at least minimize the damage. Believe it or not, exercise and plenty of sleep is one of the best ways to eliminate this condition, as this is a great plan to relieve stress. You should also avoid caffeine, especially in the later hours in the night.
Ultimately, the best way to prevent damage to your teeth from bruxism is to invest in a mouth guard. While the pre-formed off-the-shelf athletic mouthguards will do the trick, you are far better off using a “boil and bite” style guard. The best option is to have your Ventura dentist mold a custom-fitted mouth protector for a more comfortable sleep.
Love your smile – call Dr. Weitzman today at (805) 295-8896!