Grinding your teeth may be a habit that you’ve picked up over the years, or it can be something you’ve been doing for as long as you remember. Perhaps you grind your teeth in your sleep and you’ve only recently realized it. Regardless, it is a bad habit that can eventually lead to more serious problems with your teeth and jaws.
Why is Teeth Grinding Bad for You?
Grinding your teeth has harmful impacts that range from minor headaches to more serious health complications. Grinding your teeth will most likely leave you with a small headache and a sore jaw. If you find yourself waking up with these symptoms regularly, you should contact your dental professional to determine a course of treatment.
Long-term teeth grinding has more detrimental implications. Eventually, teeth grinding has the potential to loosen your teeth, wear them down, chip them, or even cause loss of teeth in extreme cases. Grinding your teeth can also cause intense and lasting jaw pain.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
For some, teeth grinding is something that happens during sleep. For others, it can be a result of other factors.
For example, some people develop the habit when they are in stressful situations, in a manner similar to nail biting. By the same token, others grind their teeth when they are in competitive situations. In both cases, since you are focused on the situation in front of you, you may not even notice that you are grinding your teeth. In other cases, grinding your teeth may be a regular occurrence. People who start out grinding their teeth during stress sometimes end up doing it on a consistent basis even without the trigger of stress.
How to Mitigate Grinding Your Teeth
Here are a few tips and tricks to reduce teeth grinding:
- Reduce your caffeine consumption. Doing so will make you less antsy and therefore less likely to grind your teeth.
- Lower alcohol consumption. People grind their teeth more often when they are under the influence of alcohol.
- When you are in a stressful or competitive environment, take a second to collect your thoughts and relax.
- Make sure you are conscious of your habit. Try to be aware of when you are grinding your teeth and make a focused effort to stop yourself every time it happens.
- Avoid chewing on things that are not food, even gum. Chewing engages your jaw muscles and takes away from trying to stop the habit.
- Pick a few times throughout the day to stop and relax your facial and jaw muscles
If you find that grinding your teeth is becoming a serious problem for you or you are doing it in your sleep, contact your dental professional. Do you have any questions about grinding your teeth or your oral health? Call Westermeier Martin Dental Care at 716-508-4547 today to schedule an appointment with your dentist!