Teeth Grinding is a Lifetime Habit
Bruxism Causes Tooth Loss and is Initiated by the Brain Stem
Teeth grinding isn’t pleasant. You can wake up with a sore jaw and headache without knowing why. Another word for teeth grinding is bruxism. Even if you stop grinding your teeth for a month, you will absolutely begin again.
Doctors know that the root cause comes from the brain stem, but they don’t know exactly why it happens. Grinding activity is an instinctive reaction to something, which can possibly be related to stress or bad dreams. But it could also be our bodies just opening our mouths to get more air.
Over time, and not a lot of it, you will damage your teeth long term. The best option to prevent damage and fractures, which leads to decay and possibly root canals is getting a custom night guard. A custom night guard is fitted exactly to your bite and teeth, so there is no room for your teeth to wiggle when you’re sleeping.
If there is movement with a night guard, it can do more damage than good. Investing in a form-fitting, comfortable night guard is worth it and will last for years. Saving the teeth you have with this option can save you thousands of dollars in dental care.
Signs of Teeth Grinding
- Spouse Complains You are Grinding Your Teeth
- Wearing down of Teeth that Become Uneven
- Chips in Front Teeth
- Fractures in Teeth that Look Like Thin Lines (impacts the integrity of your teeth/tooth)
- Loose Tooth/Teeth
The amount of force you put on your teeth by grinding at night is literally thousands of pounds per square inch versus hundreds of pounds per square inch when you eat.
Store-Bought Night Guards
Supermarket night guards where you can boil water and try and get a good fit are not as snug as a custom night guard. There is room for your teeth to move and cause wear on your teeth, and you can still get a sore jaw and headache. However, if monetary issue is a concern, it’s better than not using a night guard at all. It’s a good solution temporarily.
Teeth Grinding in Children
Just like adults, children can grind their teeth, too. Sometimes it’s due to their jaw muscles being immature and still forming and they can grow out of it. Paying close attention to their sleeping habits and long-term grinding means you should bring your child into the dentist so he or she can take a closer look to see if there are any other underlying causes. Some doctors say it can also be hereditary.
Children who grind usually start about about 3 ½ years of age and stop at about 6. It could continue or begin because the child has a lot of stress, too.
Causes of Babies Grinding Their Teeth
- Breathing Problems
- Stuffy Nose
Stress and Nightmares
A common complaint by people who grind their teeth is due to stresses in life. Paying bills, going to school, raising children and work can all cause stress in our lives. By the time we go to bed, it’s our only release to get rid of stress by relaxing. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when we dream, and some dreams turn into stressful situations.
Have you ever had a dream where you were upset and couldn’t get away from someone or something and woke up sweating and clenching your jaw? Some unsettling dreams can cause you to clench and grind your teeth, so having a custom night guard in place will help you avoid extra trauma to your teeth and bones.
Try turning off the news and put away your computer at least one hour before you go to bed. Enjoy some caffeine-free green tea or Echinacea to boost your immune system and just sit back and think about all the good things in your life before you hit the hay. Do some easy stretching, and by the time you lie down to sleep, you’ll find you’re more relaxed and less stressed. Conversely, that means you’re less likely to have stressful dreams and grind your teeth.
Lakefront Family Dentistry has treated thousands of patients and made custom night guards that save families a lot of money over the lifetime of their teeth. If you’re grinding your teeth at night or your child is, consider calling us at (951) 244-9495 to Make an Appointment Today.