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Teeth grinding

Teeth grinding can be a strange condition because it is often done unconsciously and people are not aware they are physically grinding their teeth. Teeth grinding (also known as bruxism or jaw clenching,) is a complaint whereby people grind the top half of their teeth over or backwards and forwards of the lower set of teeth. The condition is often said to be related to stress or anxiety and is a way of people controlling it. As mentioned, most people do not realise they are doing it and will often know nothing about it until any problems arise. Most likely, teeth are grinded during sleep, when under a period of stress or when concentrating intensely.

The problem with teeth grinding is that it can erode the teeth over time and if a person is regularly doing this, they may start to notice some symptoms associated with this condition which include:

* Pain in the facial area which can lead to jaw and muscle problems.

* Headaches.

* Sleep disturbances – especially if the problem is more common at night.

* Damaged, broken, or even loss of teeth.

The good news is that any pain associated in the face (including headaches) usually goes away when you stop grinding your teeth, and damaged, broken or lost teeth only happen in the most severe cases. It is important to be aware that these things are however a possibility and if you suspect you have a problem with teeth grinding then speak to your doctor or dentist about it, because there are a number of things which can be done.


Options and treatment for teeth grinding

If your dentist can see signs of wear on your teeth and this is related to teeth grinding then they may have to take remedial action to stop your teeth becoming more damaged or developing further dental problems such as abscesses.

More advanced forms or help for teeth grinding can include wearing mouth guards or mouth splints. These have an effect of protecting teeth whilst reducing some of the pain associated with the condition.

Other ways of helping with the problem including exercises to relax the muscles, changing sleeping behaviours, or getting to the root cause of the anxiety or stress thereby stopping the need to grind the teeth.

Teeth grinding isn’t just a result of stress or anxiety and can also be caused by other factors also including:

* Those taking certain medications.

* People with generalised sleep problems or disorders.

* Certain lifestyle traits, including drinking too much, smoking, using drugs or consuming excess caffeine.

The first step to overcoming teeth grinding is to be aware (or for someone else to point it out) that you are actually doing it. You can then begin to take action to ensure the condition doesn’t become a long term problem.

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