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What Causes Teeth Grinding?

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It's estimated that teeth grinding, a condition that's also referred to as "bruxism," is evident in up to 33 percent of children. But in all likelihood, that number is much greater, based on the simple fact that most children - and adults - who experience it may not even realize that it's occurring.

Teeth grinding most commonly occurs during sleep and it's only when the grinding persists regularly that problems arise. That's because chronic teeth grinding can lead to fractured and loose teeth, potentially even the dwindling down of the teeth to their stumps, thereby making dental work necessary on a more regular basis. While it's possible to get treatment for teeth grinding issues from a doctor or dentist, most cases of bruxism can be eliminated before they even become a big problem with some simple lifestyle adjustments. However, in order to eliminate teeth grinding from occurring altogether, you first have to know what causes it. Here's a look at some of the factors that can lead to bruxism:

  • Stress/Anxiety: For patients that are stressed out or anxious, it's not uncommon to experience grinding and clenching both during the day and subconsciously at night.
  • Dental Issue: Most teeth grinding is the result of an issue that can be treated by a dentist. For instance, an abnormal bite, missing teeth and crooked teeth are all common dental issues that can potentially lead to teeth grinding at night.
  • Habit: Most often seen as a reason behind teeth grinding in children, a bad habit can be torture on the teeth. For instance, it's not uncommon for young children to chew on their nails, pencils, crayons, etc. This habit can also translate to the subconscious state as they sleep.
  • Other: There are various other reasons that can lead to teeth grinding, such as a hyperactive/aggressive personality, side effects from prescribed medications, sleep apnea, a natural reflex from earache or headache pain or a medical condition.

Eliminating Teeth Grinding

You can typically tell whether or not you have a teeth grinding issue if your jaw hurts in the morning, you appear to be drooling a lot at night, you're heard doing it at night by someone or - obviously - if you experience an abnormal amount of cracked and chipped teeth. So how do you eliminate grinding? While you should always consult with your dentist or doctor to see if any special apparatus or other treatment is necessary, here's a look at some tips:

  • Refrain from alcohol or caffeine, as there's a link between the two and an increase in grinding activity.
  • Don't chew on anything that isn't food. If you're a gum chewer, you may even want to cut that out of your life, as it can train the jaw to work in a particular way at regularity.
  • Hold a warm washcloth to your jaw and earlobes before you go to sleep. This helps to relax them.
  • Relax and unwind before bed. Read a book, watch TV or do some other form of low-stress activity.

Teeth grinding is a common issue that can be detrimental if not caught - and treated - in a proper manner. For more information behind the causes of teeth grinding and what you can do to eliminate it from happening, contact Caven Dental today.

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