People in the United States experience all sorts of dental disorders. In fact, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, over half of all adults in the U.S. have periodontal disease. However, most dental problems can be prevented with regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene habits. But there is one dental problem that can’t be solved by these things alone. That particular dental problem is bruxism.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding. It can occur during the day or at night, and it often happens without the person realizing it. However, bruxism can cause serious dental problems, such as tooth wear, gum recession, and jaw pain.
What Causes Bruxism?
There is no single known cause of bruxism. However, several factors have been linked to the condition. These include stress, anxiety, caffeine, alcohol, smoking tobacco, and certain medications. People with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia are more likely to grind their teeth. Bruxism causes a lot of problems for people. Here are the five common problems people with bruxism have.
One of the most common problems people with bruxism have is interrupted sleep. Teeth grinding often happens at night and can be so loud that it wakes the person’s sleeping partner. In addition to causing interrupted sleep, bruxism can lead to daytime fatigue.
Worn Down Teeth
Another problem associated with bruxism is worn-down teeth. Over time, the constant grinding of the teeth can wear them down. This can eventually lead to tooth sensitivity and even tooth loss.
Bruxism can also cause jaw pain. The constant grinding of the teeth puts a lot of stress on the jaw muscles, leading to pain and stiffness in the jaw.
Bruxism can also lead to headaches. The jaw pain associated with bruxism can radiate to the head, causing tension headaches.
The ear pain associated with bruxism is usually due to jaw pain. When the muscles in the jaw constantly contract, it can cause referred ear pain.
How to Treat Bruxism
If you think you may have bruxism, it’s important to see a dentist or doctor for an evaluation. While there is no cure for bruxism, there are treatments that can help reduce the symptoms and prevent further damage to the teeth and jaws. Here are some of those treatment options.
Many experts believe that mental factors than just physical ones cause bruxism. So, finding ways to reduce stress and anxiety in your life is essential. Here are some ways to do that:
Take a Day Off
Stress is one of the primary causes of bruxism. If you’re stressed, take a day off from work or school. Use that time to relax and de-stress.
Exercise has been known to decrease anxiety. It releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Exercise also helps to improve sleep, which can help reduce bruxism.
Talk to Someone
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, talking to someone can help. Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or counselor can help you manage your stress and anxiety healthily.
Get a Retainer
Retainers are orthodontic devices that are worn in the mouth. They can help to position the teeth and prevent grinding. You can use alternatives if you’re too self-conscious about wearing a retainer. The best alternative is getting Invisalign braces. This will allow you to wear it in public as it’s almost nearly invisible. Additionally, these braces don’t hinder your eating habits, which can be a problem with wearing retainers. It’s because it’s easy to remove and put back on.
Change Your Diet
Your diet plays a big role in your overall health, including your oral health. Eating a healthy diet can help reduce the symptoms of bruxism. Here are some foods to include in your diet:
- Fruits and vegetables: These are packed with nutrients that are essential for good oral health.
- Water: Drinking plenty of water helps to keep your mouth hydrated and prevents dry mouth, which can lead to teeth grinding.
- Lean proteins: Lean proteins provide the body with the amino acids it needs to build strong muscles, including the jaw muscles.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol: Too much caffeine and alcohol can irritate the nervous system and lead to teeth grinding.
If you think you may have bruxism, talk to your dentist or doctor. They will be able to evaluate you and recommend the best treatment option for you.
Bruxism is a common disorder among the American population. However, with the right information and treatment, it doesn’t have to interfere with your life. So consider these options when looking for ways to cope with bruxism.