How To Stop Clenching Your Teeth
Do you clench or grind your teeth? You may think it’s no big deal, but the condition, called bruxism, can cause headaches, damaged teeth -- and worse. (This happens both at night while sleeping and during the day, but night time bruxism tends to be more serious because it goes on for a longer period of time.) When you grind your teeth, you also wear away tooth enamel. This can lead to ultra-sensitive teeth and tooth decay, and it can also cause damage to expensive dental work. Plus, grinding taxes the muscles and joints of the jaw. In fact, prolonged grinding may damage the jaw joint enough to cause osteoarthritis as well as bone loss and periodontal (gum) disease.
That’s a lot of bad news, but there are effective ways to help you stop the grind.
Teeth-grinding is believed to be hereditary but it’s also related to gender: Three times as many women as men grind their teeth. And ironically, if you grind your teeth regularly, you may do less damage than if you grind intermittently. Although the regular grinder wears down her teeth, muscles get stronger from the habit.
If you’re a grinder, you probably know it. You may wake up with a stiff or tired jaw, or your partner hears you doing it during the night. To ease the grind, try these tips: