You might not recognize it by the medical term, bruxism, but you're probably familiar with the symptoms it. Bruxism is a broad term that refers to the grinding of your teeth. It's fairly common, effecting nearly one in three people. Since most people grind their teeth while they sleep, it can be hard to tell whether or not you're grinding your teeth. Here are some signs you might need to talk to your dentist about wearing a night guard.
You may be grinding your teeth loud enough to wake up your significant other. If they hear you making sounds like chewing on hard ice cubes, it could be an indication that you are grinding your teeth.
Constant grinding not only wears down your teeth, but it also puts a strain and pressure on your jaw muscles and even your ears. This pain can make it difficult to open your mouth or chew.
The constant pressure on the jaws can trigger headaches. Whether they are intense or mild, waking up with a headache can be a sign of bruxism. The pain usually centers around the sides and back of the head.
Teeth can only wish stand so much pressure. Persistent grinding can lead to chipped, cracked or worn down teeth. Grinding through the outer layer of your teeth (enamel) leaves your teeth exposed to sensitivity.
Bruxism is usually related to other conditions. It is most commonly caused by stress, but it can also be caused by sleep apnea, ADHD, and certain medications.
Leaving bruxism untreated, can cause serious damage to your teeth. You can literally grind away your teeth. Talk to your dentist about what is causing your bruxism and explore treatment options. In the meantime, you should consider wearing a night guard. It won't cure your bruxism, but it will provide your teeth with protection from grinding forces.