Approximately 25% of the population deals with an oral issue known as bruxism. More people will know it by its symptoms: teeth grinding and gnashing. The two issues fall under the same title due to the end result, which the two conditions share. These problems are difficult to discover, since the consequences of these afflictions can be minimal at first. To make matters worse, you might not even know it’s happening—some people experience it only in their sleep. Bruxism is almost always a subconscious act, and is most commonly tied to a semi-voluntary reaction to stress. There are few things we look for when diagnosing bruxism:

How do you know if you have bruxism?

  • Aching of the jaw muscles
  • Tenderness and fatigue in the jaw
  • Grinding or clicking sounds in your jaw
  • Teeth changing shape over time
  • Sensitive teeth and gums
  • Breakage of teeth, especially any with previous dental work
  • Headaches
  • Trismus, or difficulty in normal mouth movements
  • Indentations, or teeth marks, on the tongue

The options in correcting bruxism are vast and varied; it’s simply finding the right method for each patient that can take time. Each person is different, so trial and error does play a part in finding a solution. Your dentist wants to ensure that the strength of your teeth stays intact, and will do everything they can to prevent invasive measures that could further harm your teeth. Here are some suggested tips to try before seeking more complex dental work:

Tips for Teeth Grinding

  • Avoid caffeine (being a stimulant, this can magnify stress)
  • Avoid alcohol (being a depressant, alcohol has proven to increase the probability that grinding teeth in your sleep will occur)
  • Try herbal teas before bed, like peppermint and chamomile
  • Try a night guard to help protect teeth while sleeping
  • Avoid sweets—the sugars aren’t just bad for the teeth, causing decay at a higher level, but they also raise the blood sugar and can trigger the act of bruxism to occur, especially while sleeping
  • Relaxing and training your jaw muscles through specific exercises given by the dentist
  • Breaking bad habits that involve chewing, like chewing on pen caps
  • Take a warm bath before bed to relax the body
  • Keep your lips sealed while teeth are apart, with the intention of making this feeling normal
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables (the vitamins and fiber can greatly reduce the stress in the jaw muscles)

Treating Bruxism

We might suggest getting an occlusal splint, which is a dental guard made specifically for your mouth by your dentist. This has been known to greatly aide people with bruxism while having their dentist help them find a technique that suits them for a long-term fix. The cooperation of the patient is vital; the faster this issue is addressed, the more integrity of your teeth may be saved. If you suffer from this condition or think you do, ask about it at your next dental cleaning or tooth whitening in our dentist office in fort worth.