Bruxism/Teeth Grinding

What is Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding— or its clinical name bruxism— is involuntarily grinding, clenching, or gnashing of the teeth, which normally happens during sleep. It involves forceful contact between the upper and lower teeth, producing a grinding sound. Clenching is the gritting of the teeth in one place for a sustained period. Bruxism is a common condition affecting nearly one in ten people which, when untreated, can be quite harmful to the teeth and jaws. There are various reasons people grind, gnash, or clench their teeth, including (but not limited to) stress, anxiety, sleep disorder, the use of stimulants, dehydration, poor diet, sleep issues or tooth alignment.

Diagnosis of Bruxism

Often those who grind, clench, or gnash their teeth do so while they are sleeping, so they are not aware of it until a bed partner or family member tells them. Others might suffer damage to their teeth as a result of grinding and their bruxism is diagnosed by a dental professional. While some will notice pain or tightness in their jaw muscles, headaches, trouble opening their mouth wide, or damage to their teeth or dental fillings. Many people with bruxism will experience it intermittently and will see it return during times of stress.

What Damage Can be Caused by Grinding Teeth?

Not only does teeth grinding cause pain and discomfort but it can also wear down your teeth, and leads to serious damage. Without treatment, bruxism can result in cracked tooth enamel, broken teeth and fillings, excessive wear and tear on the teeth, pressure on the joints and soft tissue in the jaw, and sleep disruption. Persistent teeth grinding and clenching can mimic headache and earache pain but is actually caused by the strain on the jaw.

For more information on teeth grinding and bruxism, visit this article by Better Health Channels.  

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