Teeth grinding is an involuntary movement that can cause negative and destructive effects to the teeth and areas in the mouth. Grinding your teeth generally refers to sliding action of the teeth against each other. Clenching is referred to as a tightly closed biting action with constant pressure. Both have the potential to damage the teeth and cause pain in the jaw. We recommend scheduling a visit with Leslie B. Anthony, DMD today to find out more about prevention and treatment options.
Clenching and grinding your teeth can occur when you are awake or asleep. While awake it may be a response to stress, tension, anxiety, or deep concentration. Sleep is very important for our health and well-being. Proper rest can effectively refresh our mind and our body while helping us prepare for the next day and strengthen our immune system. Sleep disturbances can take a toll on our health and may prevent us from being productive and functioning as our best selves. One of the most common sleep disturbances that prevents us from getting a good night’s sleep is clenching or grinding our teeth.
Do you ever wake up with:
- Sore, achy, and fatigued jaw
- Sensitive teeth and gums
- Your partner complaining about the grinding noises you make throughout the night
If you answered yes to any of these, you may have what medical professionals call bruxism. Bruxism is excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Bruxism may be caused by a combination of things such as physical, psychological and genetic factors.
Factors that influence whether or not teeth grinding and clenching causes pain and other problems will be different from person to person. They may include but are not limited to:
- Alignment of teeth
- Your ability to relax
- Sleeping habits and routines
- Oral care
Tips for reducing teeth grinding and clenching
- Reduce your daily stress. It is important for your health and well-being to learn how to reduce and manage your stress. Relax your mind by doing something you enjoy. Take time to participate in your favorite hobby, go for a walk, do something creative like write or paint, or take a relaxing bath with essential oils to relax your mind.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make anxiety worse causing more stress and tension in the body. Caffeine can also make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep.
- Avoid chewing on objects. Chewing on pens or pencils and even chewing gum for prolonged periods of time can tighten jaw muscles and increase your risk of grinding and clenching your teeth.
- Custom-fitted Mouth guard. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Leslie Anthony to get fitted for a custom fitted mouth guard that will help protect your teeth while you sleep.
Studies suggest that over 40 million people in the US alone grind or clench their teeth. You may be one of them and not even be aware that you are grinding and clenching your teeth. That is why it is important to schedule regular visits with Leslie B. Anthony, DMD. Dr. Leslie Anthony may see signs of grinding and clenching when examining your teeth at a checkup appointment and she can determine the cause of your teeth grinding and then come up with a treatment plan that is best suited for your needs.