Teeth Grinding 101 – What You Need to Know

Teeth Grinding 101 – What You Need to Know

As a family dentist in SW Portland, our team at Burlingame Dental Arts know from experience just how much stress our patients’ teeth receive on a daily basis. From the foods we eat to the beverages we drink, it’s a truly amazing testament to evolution that are teeth can last a lifetime considering the excessive wear and stress the endure.

While our teeth are remarkably resilient, there are some daily oral problems that can seriously undermine their long-term health. One such condition is teeth grinding, an often unconscious habit that causes us to clench, grind, or excessively rub our teeth together. While this might not seem like a big deal, that additional stress and strain teeth grinding places on our chompers can take its toll over time.

Patients who suffer from teeth grinding have a significantly higher risk of experiencing cracked, broken, worn, and loose teeth. What makes teeth grinding especially problematic is that most patients never realize they even have a problem. That’s because teeth grinding typically occurs at night during sleep. Unless you receive regular dental care from a family dentist in SW Portland, there’s a good chance you might not even realize there’s a problem until too late.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent teeth grinding. If stress is the cause behind this harmful habit, ask one of our Burlingame dentists or your family physician about successful strategies for reducing stress. Attending counseling for stress, regular exercise, and seeing a physical therapist are all potential options for helping to lower your stress levels and prevent tooth grinding.

Additionally, should the problem become severe, our dentists can fit you with a custom-made mouth guard to help protect your teeth during sleep. Mouth guards offer a layer of protection that keeps safe from grinding at night.

Other Successful Strategies for Preventing Teeth Grinding

Other techniques you can try to help prevent teeth grinding include:

  • Avoid drinking beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee, chocolate, and sodas, especially in the evening or before bed.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Teeth grinding habits tend to intensify after drinking alcohol.
  • Don’t chew on anything that’s not a type of food, such as pens and pencils. You should even avoid chewing gum as it causes muscles in the jaw to become used to clenching, thereby making you more likely to grind your teeth.
  • Make an effort to consciously avoid grinding. While grinding typically occurs at night, it can still happen during the day. If you notice your jaw becoming tight, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This will help to train your jaw muscles to relax.

Visit Your Family Dentist in SW Portland

It can be easy to miss the signs of nightly teeth grinding if you don’t know what to look for. Patients who suffer from nightly grinding often wake up with:

  • Headaches
  • Sore jaw
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Facial muscle cramps

If you experience these types of symptoms in the morning or if you notice a change in the shape or position of your teeth, you need to schedule an appointment with our team at Burlingame Dental Arts. Our dentist will be able to diagnosis teeth grinding and recommend a successful treatment plan for improving your long-term oral health.

Don’t take a risk when it comes to protecting your oral health. Understand the signs and symptoms of teeth grindings and get the help you need.

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