One in three people grind their teeth while they sleep, with stress being a major contributor to subconscious teeth grinding.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, results in headaches, muscle aches and disrupted sleep, which causes additional stress the following day. It’s a vicious cycle that can result in major dental problems and even affect your overall health.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
The alignment of your teeth can have a huge impact on the health and appearance of your smile. One of the primary symptoms of malocclusion (an abnormal bite or uneven smile) is teeth grinding and clenching.
A cause of awake bruxism, tension is a short-term emotion that occurs in day-to-day situations. For example, if you experience bad service at a restaurant and get stuck in traffic after dinner, you might catch yourself grinding your teeth due to tension.
Increased anxiety or stress caused by personal and professional worries can lead to teeth grinding. The more stressed you are, the more likely it is you will experience some form of bruxism.
Stress Relief Exercises for Your Teeth
Minimizing stress can help alleviate the symptoms of bruxism.
The best way to battle stress is relaxation. Here are a few strategies to help you relax your mind and body:
- Breathe deeply. It only takes a few breaths to calm your nervous system.
- Go for a walk. A brisk walk can clear your senses and boost endorphins, easing stress.
- Relax your face. Focused facial massages provide a relaxing sensation and relieve temporary jaw pain.
Other practices include drinking water regularly, eating soft foods and proper rest.
Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding and Bruxism
Although lowering stress can decrease your subconscious teeth grinding habit, in cases of severe bruxism you will want to see your dentist.
At Dentistry at East Piedmont, we will conduct a thorough evaluation to check your teeth, tissues and muscles. Depending on your condition, our dentists may recommend:
- Braces or Invisalign to correct a misaligned bite
- A customized orthotic appliance (also known as a night guard or splint) to prevent grinding, day or night
Your dentist is often the first to recognize signs of a larger issue in your mouth. Regular dental check-ups are a great way to alleviate teeth grinding to address your overall health and wellness.
To find out more about our bruxism treatment options, schedule an appointment or call us at (770) 321-5558.