February 28, 2019
Do you ever wake up feeling a dull pain in your jaw? It could be from job-related stress. According to The American Institute of Stress, 40% of all workers feel that their job is very or extremely stressful. Teeth grinding from stress can be easy to miss since it often happens during sleep. However, it can have a serious negative impact on your oral health. Want to know how to stop grinding your teeth? Here are some tips from a dentist in Fremont to protect your smile from wearing down.
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
In addition to stress and anxiety, people may grind their teeth if they have:
- An abnormal bite
- Missing teeth
- Crooked teeth
- A sleep disorder such as sleep apnea
However, many people are unaware that they grind their teeth at all. If you have a dull, constant headache or wake up often with a sore jaw, chances are you may be grinding your teeth at night.
Ask your dentist to examine your mouth for signs of teeth grinding. He or she will be able to spot excessive wear on your teeth from grinding and discuss with you how to stop.
What are the Long-Term Effects of Teeth Grinding?
While occasional teeth grinding usually does not cause harm, grinding your teeth on a regular basis can damage teeth and lead to other oral health problems. Chronic teeth grinding can result in:
- Fractured teeth
- Loose teeth
- Loss of teeth
- Teeth worn down to stumps
- Persistent jaw pain
- Worsen TMD/TMJ
If these serious problems occur, your dentist may recommend bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures or even complete dentures.
Tips to Stop Grinding Your Teeth
Wearing a custom mouth guard fitted by your dentist is an easy way to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep. Here are some additional tips to help you prevent grinding your teeth:
- Before going to bed, hold a warm washcloth against your check in front of your earlobe to relax your jaw muscles
- Avoid or cut back on coffee and other foods and drinks that contain caffeine
- Avoid or cut back on drinking alcohol, which tends to intensify teeth grinding
- Do not chew on pens at work or when you are studying
- Avoid chewing gum, which allows your jaw muscles to get used to clenching and therefore makes you more likely to grind your teeth
- If sleep apnea or another sleeping disorder is causing the grinding, talk to your dentist about how to treat the underlying disorder
- If you are experiencing high levels of stress, talk to a doctor or dentist about counseling and other options to reduce your stress
Grinding teeth is a subtle threat to your dental health that in many cases can easily be prevented or treated. Don’t let stress or other dental problems wreak havoc on your teeth and jaw – talk to a dentist in Fremont today!
About the Author
Dr. James Block is a third-generation dentist dedicated to providing quality, compassionate dental care to the Fremont community. For more oral health tips, visit the James Block Dentistry website or call the office at 510-793-0801.
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