What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a medical term that is used to describe teeth grinding. The exact cause of bruxism remains unknown, but medical experts believe that stress, diet, posture and sleeping habits play a role in developing this condition. Anxiety, depression, earache, headache and tooth sensitivity are some of the primary symptoms of this condition.
Why should I be concerned about Bruxism?
Chronic bruxism can become a problem if it is left untreated. Bruxism can make a person more susceptible to developing temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ. TMJ is a condition that causes chronic pain in the temples and lower jaw. The chronic grinding can also damage the teeth. In rare cases, people have lost teeth because of excessive grinding.
Bruxism does not just affect the teeth. Studies have shown that people who have this condition are more likely to develop depression and eating disorders. Additionally, the noise from the teeth grinding can also disturb a person’s partner or roommate.
What are some treatment options for teeth grinding?
The goal of any treatment is to get the patient to stop grinding his teeth so that permanent tooth damage can be prevented. Wearing a mouth guard at night can help prevent people from grinding their teeth. Many people will also benefit from making adjustments in their lifestyle. Because stress can trigger bruxism, it is important to make sure that one gets plenty of rest and take time out of each day to relax.
It is also wise to avoid consuming hard foods, such as steak, nuts and candy. People who have jaw pain due to their chronic teeth grinding should apply ice or heat to the affected area. Physical therapy can help alleviate jaw pain that is caused by teeth grinding.
What are some things that can be done to prevent teeth grinding?
One of the most important things that people can do to prevent bruxism is make sure that they keep their stress level in check. Exercising, reading and meditating are just a few of the many things that people can do to reduce their stress. Those who still struggle with stress need to make sure that they talk to their doctor about other ways to relax. People who are prone to teeth grinding should avoid consuming foods and beverages that are high in caffeine or alcohol before bed time. Caffeine and alcohol have also been shown to trigger this condition.
Peter Wendt has managed his own case of Bruxism for many years while writing and researching in Austin, Texas. He was diagnosed and received treatment for teeth grinding at AFO.