How can I Stop Grinding my Teeth?

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Grinding or clenching your teeth is a condition known as bruxism. Although most people tend to grind or clench their teeth sometimes, but when it becomes chronic that it can cause a range of serious oral health problems. Bruxism also describes behaviour such as the biting of fingernails or chewing on objects like pencils.

In many cases bruxers (people with bruxism) will grind or clench their teeth as they sleep, and may not realise they're doing it. Luckily, you will be able to tell if you have bruxism due to a number of commonly occurring symptoms. Symptoms of bruxism include, worn down or flat-tipped teeth, pain in the jaw muscles and increased teeth sensitivity. If you experience any of these symptoms or are concerned that you might be clenching or grinding as you sleep, then make an appointment with your dentist.

There are a number of steps you can take to aid you in preventing bruxism. There are a range of foods and drinks which have been shown to increase the rate of bruxism such as coffee, tea, cola and alcohol. Similarly, if you catch yourself biting down on pens or pencils or anything else that is not food, make sure you stop. If you regularly use chewing gum, then you may be conditioning your jaw muscles into a clench response. There are a wide variety of ways you can help train yourself out of bruxism, for instance, if you find yourself clenching, placing your tongue between your teeth will help to condition you against it.

Dehydration can also contribute to bruxism behaviours, so make sure you drink plenty of water. Stress can also play a big role in increasing the instances of bruxism, so try to relax, especially before you go to sleep. In some cases, where the main grinding and clenching occurs during the patient's sleep; a mouth guard or retainer worn at night may be necessary to protect the teeth from further damage.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »