How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

posted by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 5/13/2022 in General

woman laying in bed feeling her sore jaw after grinding teeth

Do you experience intense headaches or constant jaw pain? Do your otherwise healthy teeth look eroded or flat? It may be a sign of teeth grinding. Learn more about this condition and how you can stop it from happening. 

What is Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding also known by its medical term, bruxism, is the clenching and gnashing of your teeth. Most teeth grinders unconsciously clench their teeth during the day and sometimes while sleeping too. Studies show, one in three adults grind their teeth during the day and one in ten do it while sleeping. Children are more likely to be affected by bruxism, almost 50% of the younger population grind their teeth at night.

Teeth Grinding Symptoms Include:

  • Loud teeth grinding or clenching 
  • Flattened, chipped, and damaged teeth
  • Worn out tooth enamel 
  • Unexplained tooth sensitivity or pain 
  • Intense or dull headaches
  • Tight or locked jaw
  • Unexplained earaches 
  • Jaw, neck, face pain or soreness

What Causes Your Teeth to Grind?

Stress and anxiety are the primary causes of teeth grinding. When frustrated or nervous, one may clench, unknowingly applying intense force upon one’s teeth. Although uncommon, some medication side effects can also cause bruxism. And if your family members are teeth grinders, it increases your risk of being one too.    

Why Is Teeth Grinding Dangerous? 

Teeth grinding may sound harmless, but if left untreated for long periods of time, it can seriously damage your teeth. Consider that while you sleep, you may clench with a pressure that almost equals 250 pounds. Imagine such an intense weight pressing down on your delicate teeth nightly. It’s bound to cause harm.

Individuals have broken their teeth, crowns, and fillings due to clenching and grinding. Their teeth have flattened or eroded over time as well. Others experience tension headaches, migraines, or temporomandibular (TMJ). Thankfully, there’re easy ways to prevent your teeth from grinding.  

Prevent Teeth Grinding

If you’re unconsciously clenching and grinding your teeth, how do you make a conscious effort to stop? These three tips have helped bruxism sufferers alleviate their condition. 

Manage Your Stress

Stress is a part of life. Sometimes it can feel inescapable, so what is the best way to manage it? Meditation, therapy, or even participating in physical activity can help lower your stress levels. 

A professional healthcare physician or therapist can advise on relaxation techniques to manage stress. You don’t want negative emotions pent up inside you to manifest as unconscious teeth clenching.

Change Your Diet 

Caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate can trigger bruxism. These foods act as stimulants, causing you to be hyperactive, which can lead to clenching and grinding. Avoid these foods and beverages, especially before going to sleep to lessen your chances of experiencing nighttime bruxism.  

Get a Mouthguard

Different mouthguards can help protect your teeth. For example, night guards are popular among night-time teeth grinders. To create a mouthpiece, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and send it to a lab to be created. Mouthguards fit over your upper or lower teeth to limit the extreme clenching force your teeth may experience.

Discuss Teeth Grinding Services with a Kimball & Beecher Dentist

We’ve shared a few tips to help alleviate painful teeth grinding symptoms. If you’re a current teeth grinder or you suspect you’re unconsciously clenching your teeth at night, speak to a knowledgeable Kimball & Beecher dentist. We will diagnose and create a treatment plan for you. Don't bear unnecessary jaw pain or headaches. Schedule an appointment today.

About The Author

Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS

Dr. Beau Beecher is the founder and CEO, of Kimball and Beecher Family Dentistry. Kimball and Beecher Family Dentistry is known for being a patient-centered practice that puts comfort and convenience first. Over 50,000 patients in Iowa cities travel miles to experience the high level of ... read more

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