When you get up in the morning, do you find yourself experiencing a sore jaw? Or do you have a headache that hits you like a ton of bricks before you’ve even opened your eyes? We hate to break it to you, but it’s possible that you’re grinding your teeth at night.
Teeth grinding is often an overlooked condition because many people dismiss it out of hand. To them, it’s nothing more than an annoyance that they are forced to endure. What they don’t realize is that grinding your teeth can lead to damage if you don’t get it under control. It will often case erosion of your tooth enamel and may even cause damage to any dental work you’ve had done, both of which are an obvious concern that can worsen if the problem isn’t handled.
There are a few different causes of teeth grinding — medically known as bruxism — that you should be aware of. The most common causes are physical. Perhaps you have an abnormal bite or crooked/missing teeth. Other causes are mental, primarily stress or anxiety. No matter the cause, it’s a good idea to see a dentist to help you deal with the problem. Until then, you can try these countermeasures:
Relax Your Jaw
Once you’ve been grinding your teeth, your jaw is going to feel sore. What you want to do is help it to relax. You may be surprised to learn that massaging your jaw can do wonders. Doing this throughout the day in short intervals can relieve the pressure and give you a great deal of relief. Also, if you have a habit of chewing on non-food items such as nails or pencils, cut it out. You’re just making the problem worse.
Relieve Your Stress
If there doesn’t seem to be a physical source of your grinding, then you may be under too much stress. We’re not experts at stress, of course, but we’ve learned some things over the years that have helped patients out tremendously. Exercising and meditation are two fantastic ways to lower a person’s stress level. Other treatments include taking a warm bath, splurging on a spa treatment or massage, reading a book in bed, or anything else that relaxes you.
Wear a Mouth Guard
A serious problem often calls for a serious solution. A mouth guard, which can be custom-made by your dentist, can be used to help protect you from teeth grinding in the same way that one can protect an athlete while playing sports. This won’t stop you from grinding your teeth, but will keep your enamel safe when you do. It may appear a bit unsightly and take some getting used to, but this may be your best bet if the problem persists.
Be Aware of the Problem
Most people who grind their teeth during the day have no idea that they’re doing it. What you need to do is pay attention to what you’re doing, and if you find yourself grinding your teeth, relax your jaw. The biggest defense against this specific area of the problem is to stay aware of it at all times. If, however, you’re grinding your teeth at night, a visit to the dentist is the way to go.
Whether you’re grinding your teeth, trying to improve your smile, or need a thorough cleaning, visiting your dentist on a regular basis will help improve your dental health. Everyone at the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, is dedicated to giving you the very best service — and the very best teeth — possible. Contact us today to make an appointment.Tags: dental care, dental visit, mouth guard, oral health, oral hygiene, teeth grinding