Many people who grind their teeth are unaware that they have developed this habit. While this often occurs as an unconscious reaction to stress, it is especially common for teeth grinding to occur while sleeping. You may wake up with a sore mouth or jaws frequently and not realize what causes it until your dentist spots some telltale signs.
Bruxism, which is the medical name for teeth grinding, can also involve clenching or gnashing your teeth. You are much more likely to have other sleep disorders if you grind your teeth at night while sleeping. Snoring and sleep apnea are the most typical issues related to bruxism. Any of these issues can prevent you from consistently achieving quality sleep.
Signs That You Could Have Bruxism
Perhaps you suspect that you grind your teeth at night but don’t know for sure. Fortunately, the physical symptoms you experience will give you a clue. We recommend that you watch for the following symptoms and schedule an appointment at Southbridge Dentistry if you notice them:
- Broken, chipped, or flat teeth
- Jaw pain
- Loose teeth
- One or more teeth with worn enamel
- Teeth strike together and make a noise loud enough to wake your partner
- Sores on the insides of your cheeks or your tongue from biting them without realizing it
- Waking up frequently during the night and then feeling fatigued the next day
People sometimes make the mistake of thinking teeth grinding is no big deal even after they realize that they are doing it regularly at night. This is not the right approach since prolonged teeth grinding can cause extensive damage. Worn teeth and teeth with missing enamel can break or become loose, requiring more extensive dental treatment. The sooner you stop the habit, the better your oral health will be over time. Making some lifestyle changes and scheduling a consultation with your dentist at Southbridge Dentistry can help you overcome this common dental problem.
Start by Making These Small Changes
If you drink alcohol or consume a lot of caffeine, we recommend that you cut back. This is due to teeth grinding being more common after consuming alcohol and large amounts of caffeine increasing anxiety. Here are some other tips you can try:
- Avoid chewing gum since the continuous chewing motions can increase teeth grinding.
- When you notice yourself grinding your teeth, place your tongue between your two rows of teeth to prevent the grinding. This will send the signal to relax your jaw.
- Avoid chewing on pencils, pen caps, and other non-edible objects.
How We Can Help
Nighttime teeth grinding can be a hard habit to break. Typically, we recommend the above home remedies and wearing a customized mouth guard when you go to sleep. Having the mouth guard in place makes it impossible to grind your teeth. If the problem persists during the day and the above methods don’t help, you may wish to speak to a professional who can help you better deal with anxiety.