How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

 In Yaletown Dental Blog

Tooth grinding is a habit that not only damages your teeth but can also harm the complex temporomandibular joint.  This causes pain, swelling, and can even trigger a situation in which surgery becomes necessary.

People sometimes grind or clench their teeth by day, but more often, it happens at night when you are sleeping. If you are a night-time tooth grinder, you may only have become aware of the issue because your sleeping partner told you about it or because your dentist spotted wear on your teeth.

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?

Most cases of tooth grinding are attributed to stress. However, if you have a badly aligned bite, it could also be part of the reason why you tend to grind your teeth.

Certain medications and drugs can cause tooth grinding, but there are theories that it can be genetic or even related to hormonal changes in your body.

Stop Grinding Your Teeth During the Day

When you are awake, it’s easier to gain control over your tooth grinding habit. It’s really a matter of being mindful. You probably grind your teeth when facing certain stressful situations. Know what triggers your habit and be aware of what your jaw is doing.

If you find that you are starting to clench your teeth, relax your jaw. When your muscles are relaxed, there should be an open space between your upper and lower sets of teeth.

If you find it hard to do this, slip your tongue forwards so that it rests between your front teeth to help your jaw muscles to relax a little.

Stop Grinding Your Teeth at Night

Preventing night-time tooth grinding is much more difficult. Your dentist at Yaletown Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry can have a special mouthguard or splint made for you to protect your mouth. Although mass-produced versions are available, they could cause further damage to your teeth owing to a poor fit.

If you are in the habit of consuming foods or drinks that contain caffeine in the evenings, change your habits. If you drink more than six cups of coffee or tea a day, you should cut down on the number of caffeinated drinks you consume to reduce tooth grinding. The same is true of alcohol use. Get out of daytime chewing habits like chewing gum or biting pencils.

Changing your sleep position could also help you to stop grinding your teeth at night. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side with your arm underneath your head, this could be contributing to your teeth grinding.

Most people find that they are less likely to grind their teeth if they sleep on their backs. Try propping yourself into position with pillows if you’re inclined to turn over as soon as you fall asleep.

Protect your Teeth

Curing tooth grinding, especially grinding of teeth during sleep can be difficult. Meanwhile, your teeth are wearing each other away, night after night.

Although there’s hope of curing yourself of the habit, your priority is to protect your teeth so that you don’t do any further damage while trying to stop night-time tooth grinding.

Consult your dentist about getting a custom-made mouthguard or splint to protect your teeth. They are much less bulky and much more comfortable than they were in the past, and you will easily be able to sleep with one in place.

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