If you grind your teeth, you're not alone. It's a relatively common problem that can occur for a number of reasons, including in response to stress or due to a misalignment between your top and bottom teeth. Certain anti-depressants can also cause you to grind your teeth, so speak to your doctor if you take this type of medication. Grinding your teeth may not seem like a big deal, but it can lead to oral health problems. Read on to find out how grinding your teeth can impact your dental health and what you can do about it.
The Impact Of Grinding Your Teeth
You can grind your teeth in your sleep or during the day, particularly when you're focussed on a task, such as typing or reading. The friction on the surface of your teeth when you grind them can cause your jaw muscles to tighten, which can reduce the range of motion in your mouth and affect your ability to chew. Grinding your teeth can also cause the enamel on the top of your teeth to wear down, which can lead to tooth sensitivity, discolouration and the development of cavities. Without this protective enamel layer, you're also at an increased risk of a tooth infection, as bacteria will be able to enter the soft pulp of a damaged tooth. If you continue to grind your teeth after the enamel has been worn away, your teeth can begin to crumble and can chip easily, so persistent teeth grinding can lead to tooth loss.
How To Stop Grinding Your Teeth
Work with your dentist to establish the best treatment approach for you. If you're grinding your teeth due to misalignment, you may need orthodontic treatment to correct the alignment problem. If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, you could speak to your doctor about what stress management programs are available in your area. Regardless of why you are grinding your teeth, it's important to get the problem under control. Your dentist can take an impression of your teeth and have a custom-fitted mouth guard made for you. This is a soft plastic cover that fits over either your top or bottom teeth and prevents your teeth from being able to rub together. You can wear the mouth guard overnight and simply pop it out and give it a clean each morning.
If you think you're grinding your teeth, book a check-up with your dentist. They can assess the condition of your tooth enamel and recommend a course of action to preserve the health of your teeth.