The repetitive and sub conscious grinding of your teeth and jaws is known as bruxism. This can develop at any age, and to anybody. It usually occurs during sleep, although it can happen whilst you are awake. During the day, you can experience bruxism through intense concentration, through tasks such as heavy lifting, reading, writing and driving. This can also be a symptom of anxiety if you are doing repeatedly throughput the day for no particular reason. Bruxism symptoms Having a headache is the most common and noticeable symptom of teeth grinding. According to the bruxism association, people who grind their teeth are three times more likely to be suffering from headaches. Other symptoms can include muscle aches, enlarged facial muscles, stiff shoulders and next, ear pain and trouble sleeping. Grinding your teeth can also wear them down, causing fracturing and even loss of teeth. Why do I grind my teeth? Bruxism can be bought on through a variety of causes. The most common include; stress, anxiety, heavy alcohol use, depression, high caffeine use, smoking and sleeping disorders. However, researchers have found little evidence to support any cause. People who snore or suffer from sleep deprivation are more likely to develop bruxism, as well as people whose lifestyle includes smoking, caffeine and alcohol. Treatments for bruxism There are different methods for treating bruxism, depending on what is causing it in the first place. Determining whether the grinding is bought on through your mental health, lifestyle or anxiety will help with developing a treatment plan unique to you. There is protective gear available for this condition through occlusal appliances, better known as mouth guards. These guards are custom made, and fit over your top and bottom row of teeth. Wearing these at night will drastically reduce tooth erosion, jaw muscle pain and pain in the temporomandibular joint. This is usually the direct treatment for this condition. Further treatment Mouth guards are a great way to protect your teeth if you have developed bruxism, however, if you have developed it through anxiety or stress, you may have to look further into the cause in order to stop you from grinding your teeth. Managing your anxiety through mediums such as meditation, relaxation techniques, behavioural management and psychoanalysis can prove effective when trying to combat bruxism. Mandibular advancements devices are effectively a step further than mouth guards. They are custom made and fit over your top and bottom teeth, and are designed to bring your bottom jaw forward, to reduce snoring and sleep apnea. If this is the cause of our bruxism, this is the preferred treatment. Are you suffering from bruxism and would like some advice on how to reduce teeth grinding? Why not contact our friendly Tamworth dentists today to see how we can help you!