Teeth grinding is something many people do, but they might not be aware of the risks or even the fact that they are doing it. This can lead to a series of problems that can affect your health, and you might be in need of facial surgery if your TMJ gets caught up in all of it.
‘How to stop grinding my teeth during the day?’ is one of the most common questions. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways you can prevent teeth grinding at night, and we will go through all you need to know about them.
What Are TMJ and TMD, and How Are They Related to Teeth Grinding?
The TMJ is short for the temporomandibular joint, which is a joint at the end of the jaw. It essentially acts as a hinge, and there is one on each side of the skull. TMD, on the other hand, stands for temporomandibular joint disorders. These can cause pain in the joint and the muscles controlling the movement of the jaw, and they can cause other issues as well if not treated.
There are numerous causes for TMJ disorders, grinding your teeth is the one thing that can cause or worsen the condition more than anything else. In the majority of cases, discomfort or pain caused by TMD can be temporary. But it won’t disappear if the person continues grinding their teeth, which is why it is essential to prevent grinding if you catch yourself doing it. TMD treatment can be simple if started on time.
How to Know If You Grind Teeth During Night
Grinding teeth is otherwise known as bruxism, and the main problem with it is that it often happens at night. This means that the majority of people that have problems with bruxism are not even aware of it.
So, how can you know if you are grinding your teeth in sleep? Well, there are a couple of things that can point out that this is the problem.
Firstly, you might notice that you have a constant headache after waking up. This is one of the clear signs that you’ve been busy during the night. Furthermore, it is not rare to notice that your jaw hurts in the morning or to experience any type of soreness. Of course, if you are sharing a bed with someone, your partner might be able to hear you doing it in your sleep.
If you cannot notice any of the symptoms, you can always talk to your dentist. They are usually able to notice signs of grinding and tell you whether you have problems with bruxism.
Why Do People Have Bruxism?
One of the primary reasons why people grind their teeth is anxiety or stress. We already mentioned that it mostly happens during the night, and that’s when people have the least amount of control. Other factors may include an abnormal bite, crooked or missing teeth, and one of many sleep disorders.
During the day, the situation can be similar, and stress may be the primary reason for teeth grinding. Luckily, it is significantly easier to get rid of this habit if it happens during the day. All you need to do is practice your self-control and focus on quitting.
It is also worth mentioning that bruxism isn’t something reserved for grown-ups only. Children can have problems with it as well.
Prevention Methods You Can Try
It would be ideal if you could discover the reason behind your teeth grinding. For example, if you grind your teeth as a side-effect of a sleep disorder, treating the disorder would likely eliminate the problem. If, say, your diet is behind your sleeping disorder, abstaining from certain types of food or drinks (like alcohol or caffeine) and learning how to be more relaxed would help immensely.
For those that are unable to locate the source of the problem, there are still a couple of methods to try. The simplest solution is to start wearing a mouthguard. You can buy a standard mouthguard or order one designed just for you, and it will make teeth grinding impossible. As you can probably guess, you will wear the guard during sleep, and it is the most effective teeth protection.
We already mentioned that stress is often a cause of bruxism, which means that exercising and creating changes in your everyday routine might be helpful. Working out can help you fall asleep easier, as you will get tired. And most importantly, you will get rid of stress.
Naturally, going to the gym is not the only way to relax, and you can also try bubble baths, meditation, or anything else that you think might work for you. The only thing that matters is to relax and relieve your body of stress.
For those that already experienced signs of bruxism, massaging your jaw can be helpful. It will reduce the pressure and might help ease the pain. Another thing we should mention is that you should stop chewing anything that isn’t food. Some people have a tendency to chew pencils or other objects in their surroundings, and it can only worsen the problem.
Why Is This Harmful?
Grinding teeth can cause so many different problems. We already mentioned temporomandibular problems, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. Bruxism can also damage your teeth. They might become flat or even fractured, and the enamel might suffer damage and disappear. As a result, the deeper layers of the teeth will be exposed, leading to tooth decay and cavities.
With the loss of enamel, it is not rare for people to develop increased sensitivity or pain. And we all know how bothersome this can be. So, the safest way to keep your teeth healthy and undamaged is to find a way to stop grinding your teeth. The best solution is to consult your dentist since they will be able to point you in the right direction.