Lynn Dental Care Asks: Do You Grind Your Teeth in Your Sleep?
Snoring isn’t the only thing you do in your sleep that you’re not aware of – you might also be grinding your teeth. Unlike snoring, which is usually only harmful to the sanity of someone who might be sleeping in the same bed, grinding your teeth has the potential to do some damage. What kind of damage can it do? Is there a way to stop before you require oral surgery? Lynn Dental Care takes a look at some of the ways you can put the habit to bed.
Why Does It Happen?
Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw during sleep, sometimes referred to as “Bruxism”, is most commonly the result of stress in your waking life. Much like the way ongoing daily stress and anxiety might influence your dreams, it can also cause you to grind or clench your teeth while you sleep. This is actually very similar to other nervous tics or habits, so if you tend to find yourself bouncing a knee or chewing your nails without realizing it, there’s a good chance you might also be grinding your teeth at night, too.
Another cause of nighttime teeth-grinding is if you suffer from a hyperactivity disorder such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It can be extremely difficult for someone who lives with ADHD to relax. This can mean that, even when they’re asleep, their body is looking for an outlet for excess energy, which can result in teeth-grinding.
Grinding your teeth in your sleep might also be an indication of physical dental problems, in which case a check-up at Lynn Dental Care might be your first step to recovery.
What’s the Harm?
There are a few different ways that nighttime teeth-grinding can result in painful, lasting damage. Tooth and jaw pain are perhaps the most obvious, from the constant stress of being clenched and ground together. The pressure from grinding can also result of the loosening of your teeth, as well as your gums receding. Persistent, aggressive tooth grinding can also lead to the wearing away of tooth enamel, leading to over-sensitivity and, combined with other side effects, the eventual loss of teeth.
Beyond damage to the teeth themselves, you also might experience things like jaw pain or cramping from the muscles constantly working. This pain can also spread to the rest of the muscles in your head, resulting in recurrent and persistent headaches.
Don’t Be a Slave to the Grind
If you experience tooth or jaw pain without any obvious indicators as to the cause, there’s a chance you might be grinding your teeth at night. Worn spots on your teeth, tooth pain, jaw pain or headaches are all indicators. While Lynn Dental Care can help you identify some of the symptoms that might be linked to this habit, there are a few things you can try to see if your symptoms get better.
Even if it does turn out you’ve been grinding your teeth while you sleep, these tips will help reduce it.
Easier said than done for a lot of us, but reducing stress is a big factor in cutting back on grinding. Even something as simple as trying some relaxation exercises, meditation, or avoidable circumstances you know cause you anxiety could help. Try and focus especially on reducing stress and relaxing 30-60 minutes before bed.
Getting More/Better Sleep
Another “easier said than done” solution, but improving sleep reduces stress, and will probably reduce grinding as a result. Doing relaxation exercises before bed, or even something simple like reading in a low light or taking a bath will improve sleep.
Avoid Caffeine And/Or Alcohol
An effective way of improving your sleep, and your nerves generally, is to reduce or cut out caffeine or alcohol. Both of these factor into anxiety problems, especially if you’re consuming either too close to when you climb into bed. Cutting back could cut down your grinding.
Avoid Habit Chewing
A simpler, but possibly effective way to reduce your tooth-grinding. While Lynn Dental Care still recommends you chew your food, consciously cutting back on chewing gum or your fingers or nails might help to reduce grinding at night. If chewing becomes an unconscious habit, then your body can take over while you sleep, meaning you’ll end up grinding your teeth.
Lynn Dental Care Advice and Treatment
While there a lot of different things you can try to reduce nighttime teeth grinding, any damage that has resulted from it can only be taken care of by a dental professional. We can also recommend more treatments, tips and advice for reducing sleep grinding, and alleviate the painful symptoms. Contact Lynn Dental Care today to learn more.