It’s hard to believe that you could be causing damage to your teeth even while you’re asleep, but for a lot of people, this is actually quite real.
Bruxism is the term used to refer to some behaviors that involve the teeth — clenching, gnashing, gritting and grinding — and these take place while a person is asleep. According to one study, one in three people suffer from this condition, and it can affect children and adults.
What Causes Bruxism?
Some of the most common causes of are stress and anxiety. During stressful periods, a person can develop a nervous, repetitive action that is meant to help relieve some of the tension they experience. For some people, this action could be nail biting or hair pulling, while for others, it’s teeth grinding. In other cases, having a hyperactive personality can increase incidences of bruxism because it becomes a way to release excess energy.
It may not be easy to accurately identify whether you are suffering from bruxism if there is no one spending the night with you in the same room who can observe and say for sure that you grind your teeth as you sleep. However, there are some symptoms that you can look out for to help you check if there’s a possibility.
The following are the most common signs of teeth grinding:
- Dull or flat teeth (or even nubbed teeth)
- Spots of wear on teeth
- Worn-out enamel
- Jaw and tooth pain
- Indentations on the tongue
- Damage to the insides of the cheeks
- Sensitive teeth
According to dental experts, while there is no single real cure for bruxism, there are things that you can do to reduce the symptoms. The best option would be to wear mouth guards while you sleep — specifically, night guards. You can purchase night guards from a drug store; these may not be a perfect fit, but they can be very effective in protecting your teeth from the worst of the damage as you grind your teeth while you sleep.
Alternatively, you can have a custom night guard made for you by your Burtonsville dentist. Your mouth and teeth will be properly and accurately measured so that the shape, comfort and fit will be right for you.
You can also observe the following practices to help relieve the condition: reducing stress, consciously relaxing your jaw and face as the day goes on, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, not chewing gum, getting more and better sleep, and drinking more water.