Grinding teeth at night is quite common, but you may not know you do it until a loved one lets you know! Occasionally grinding teeth at night doesn’t do much damage. But, excessive and forceful grinding, Bruxism, can be very harmful to your teeth and jaw.
Stress is the most common cause to teeth grinding. Unfortunately, stress tends to be a constant companion for many people these days. Teeth grinding can lead to a weakened immune system, headaches, jaw and facial pain, and even sleep disorders. Besides these, excessive teeth grinding can wear away and damage the enamel on the teeth, cause teeth to crack, and cause a misaligned bite.
How can I stop teeth grinding?
Although teeth grinding is a common and natural way for the body to relieve stress, we’d rather that you address the stress and keep your teeth (and enamel) healthy and happy. Your Westchester dentist has some tips for you to relieve those stressful days and give your jaw a rest at night.
An easy and quick help is to massage the sides of your jaw with your fingertips to help the muscles relax. Holding a warm towel around the jaw can also relax the muscles.
Some substances can aggravate teeth grinding, like alcohol and caffeine. Reducing your intake will help relieve the tension. Also, try avoiding gum chewing and hard foods.
Try opening your mouth as wide as possible (but not painful!) and touch the tongue to the top front teeth. Repeat several times. During the day, be mindful of when your teeth touch, and what may be your triggers to grinding. Try to keep your tongue in the position it takes when pronouncing the letter ‘n’. This helps prevent clenching the teeth together.
Psychological methods can help, too, so try periodic meditating to relax, especially before bedtime. This can include still meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Focus on breathing your stress out of your body, and be mindful of how your jaw feels.
Mouth guards are also an option, but be sure to get one properly fitted from your Westchester cosmetic dentist. These provide a soft layer of material between the teeth to prevent them from grinding together and damaging the enamel.
No matter how you choose to relieve your stress, be sure to call us today for an appointment to help you determine the best course of action for your teeth!