Signs you’re grinding your teeth at night and how to deal with it

lLike night terrors or sleep apnea, grinding your teeth (aka bruxism) while you’re sleeping—a habit 10–20 percent of people share, according to the Sleep Foundation— It’s something you might not remember waking up from if you weren’t aware of the telltale signs.

“Crushing teeth is often a symptom of a blocked airway,” says Kaitie Beetner, DDS, board member of oral care brand Before. “Not having an open airway significantly affects the quality of your sleep and therefore overall quality of life.”

And while bruxism is often thought to happen only at night, Whitney DiFoggio, registered dental hygienist and founder of Teeth Talk Girl, warns that it can happen throughout the day, too. day. “Our teeth tend to be more damaged when we grind our teeth at night, as opposed to grinding our teeth during the day. [though] due to the force exerted when we sleep,” she said. According to the Sleep Foundation, people who grind their teeth at night can exert up to 250 pounds of force.

How our bodies tell us we’re grinding our teeth at night

The most common sign of any type of grinding or clenching is a headache and/or jaw pain, however, there are other things to watch out for. DiFoggio says flattened, broken, chipped or loose teeth, worn enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, neck pain, earache-like pain and cuts inside the cheek from biting are also ways the body tells you. know that you are grinding your teeth at night. As for myself, I tend to wake up with noticeable wrinkles on my inner cheek tissue, another thing to watch out for, says Dr.

While morning headaches and/or jaw pain are signs of teeth grinding, DiFoggio says they can also be signs of other underlying problems that need to be evaluated by a dentist. “If the underlying problem is beyond dentistry and requires medical attention, your dentist can refer you to a medical professional,” she says.

I’m grinding my teeth at night. What should I do?

Like any overuse injury, grinding can be harmful both in the short and long term says this trustworthy emergency dentist in Arlington. “There is nothing good from grinding your teeth, ” says Dr. Beetner. “Crushing your teeth will damage your teeth, strain your facial muscles, can damage your jaw joints and cause [temporomandibular disorders] TMD too.” TMJ jaw pain is a common type of TMD.

Research on bruxism is still fairly limited, but both experts say it’s important to try to pinpoint the root cause of bruxism. Take stress, for example—once you treat the cause and implement stress-reduction techniques, it’s likely that you’ll also stop the habit of grinding your teeth, says DiFoggio.

While jaw guards and other devices can help mitigate any damage, they’re not appropriate in all cases, says Dr. Beetner. It’s best to speak with a dental professional so they can help you create a custom treatment plan that’s right for your specific needs.


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