Do you grind your teeth?

Do you or your loved one grind your teeth at night? Many people grind their teeth, but doing this too can often result in damage to the teeth and oral health issues could arise.

Many people grind their teeth because of stress and anxiety, most commonly at night, which means that they are often unaware of this and this chronic grinding can wear their teeth down to stumps. When this happens, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be needed.

Teeth grinding can be caused by taking certain antidepressants and your lifestyle can also have an effect. For example, regularly drinking alcohol, smoking and using recreational drugs, such as ecstasy and cocaine, increases your risk of grinding.

If you think that you may suffer from teeth grinding, book an appointment with your dentist who can provide you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.

Here are some tips to help you stop grinding your teeth:

  • Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.
  • Limiting your alcohol intake is important as grinding tends to increase after alcohol consumption
  • Don’t chew your pencils or pen lids or anything that isn’t food. Also avoid chewing gum too often as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth
  • Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
  • Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.

If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress levels. Attending stress counselling sessions, taking up an exercise program or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some of the options that may be offered.

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