Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common condition in which a person unconsciously grinds their teeth, clenches their jaw, and/or clenches their muscles while they sleep. You could grind your teeth without even realizing it while you’re sleeping as your body is in a state of rest.
Teeth grinding is caused by the excessive stimulation of certain muscles in the jaw and face. It can result from stress, anxiety, or even medications like antidepressants.
Below, we explain how teeth grinding happens, how it affects your health, what a teeth grinding guard is, and the benefits of using one.
How Does Teeth Grinding Happen and How It Affects One’s Health
When our jaw stays in one position for too long, such as when we are reading or sleeping, it activates the grinding muscles in our jaw. This causes them to contract and forces the teeth together.
This action compresses the jawbone and signals to the brain that there is excess pressure on our jaw. As a result, another set of muscles contracts so that the lower jaw drops slightly to relieve the pressure and allow for even grinding once again.
While it is a generally painless activity, excessive teeth grinding can lead to serious discomfort and dental issues over time, such as:
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)- A painful disorder occurs when the muscles, ligaments, and joints that move the jaw become inflamed. You are five times more likely to develop it if you grind your teeth.
- Damaged and Broken Teeth- If you don’t wear a guard. Teeth grinding can weaken your teeth, chip them, and lead to gum disease.
- Changes in Bite- Teeth grinding can cause your teeth to become misaligned. This can change your bite over time, leading to serious dental issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and jaw pain.
- Pain and Discomfort- Teeth grinding can lead to neck and shoulder pain, headaches, earaches, and jaw pain.
To avoid such problems, people suffering from bruxism often wear a teeth-grinding guard as a preventative measure.
What Is a Teeth Grinding Guard
A teeth grinding guard is a soft device with thin plastic fitting over the top and bottom of your teeth that prevent you from grinding your teeth. Once you start wearing it consistently, you will notice an improvement in your bite and how comfortable it feels when you sleep.
Some of the benefits you can expect from using a guard to stop teeth grinding include:
- Stopping Tooth Damage- Wearing a guard prevents you from damaging your teeth.
- Decreased Risk of Gum Disease- Wearing a guard reduces the risk of gum disease, which is caused by the bacteria in your saliva.
- Improved Sleep- Wearing a guard will help you get a full night’s rest without feeling discomfort from grinding your teeth.
- Stopping Headaches- Wearing a guard stops headaches and other pain caused by teeth grinding.
- Preventing Changes in your Bite- If you grind your teeth, there is a chance that your bite could change over time. A guard can prevent this from happening.
Teeth grinding is a problem that can cause serious dental issues if you don’t take action. If you grind your teeth, it’s important to take action to prevent serious dental issues from developing by starting to wear a guard.
A guard can help you reduce tooth damage, stop headaches, and improve the quality of your sleep.