Do You Grind Your Teeth in Your Sleep?
Have you noticed that your front teeth may be getting shorter? Do you wake up with a head or jaw ache? You may be grinding your teeth without being aware of it.
Otherwise known as Bruxism, occasional teeth grinding may not cause too much harm, but when it happens frequently, it can be serious. Teeth grinding may be caused by stress, missing or crooked teeth, or sleep apnea. You may not be aware that you are doing it unless you catch yourself grinding your teeth during the day.
Teeth grinding can cause teeth to fracture, loosen, or be lost altogether. Teeth can also be ground down to stumps if the practice is done often enough. It can cause the need for bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial or complete dentures.
To treat the problem, avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate and coffee. Avoid alcohol as grinding tends to be more likely after alcohol consumption.
Do not chew on anything that is not food. Avoid chewing gum as it makes you more likely to grind your teeth. Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth when you are awake. Placing your tongue between your teeth to relax your jaw muscles when you catch yourself grinding.
Practice stress relief techniques, like a warm bath before bed, sleeping in socks to keep your feet warm, meditation, or whatever helps you relax before sleep. If teeth grinding doesn’t improve with these techniques, your dentist can fit you with a night guard, a device that you wear in your mouth when sleeping that keeps your teeth separated so you can’t grind them. These guards are especially helpful in stopping the teeth from wearing down any further.