Old habits die hard. We’ve all got traits, characteristics, and habits that we’ve carried around for years, and some are more beneficial than others. Your daily morning jog is a vital component to your health, but maybe you’ve never been able to shake the habit of biting your nails when times are stressful. For many of us, teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a subconscious reaction to a variety of situations, and the act can have dire implications for our oral health. You may or may not even realize you’re doing it, and sometimes it takes your dentist filling you in on the damage done before you may know a problem is at hand! If you’re curious as to some of the main reasons people grind their teeth and wonder how you can try to kick the habit, read on to learn a bit more about this relatively common practice!
1. Stress-induced grinding
The body has natural ways of dealing with highly emotional situations, and for some of us that means grinding our teeth or clenching our jaws during stressful situations. If you don’t have an outlet for the stress or anxiety you’re feeling, your body may refocus the energy into your jaw to keep it in. Stress management through meditation or exercise are a good way to help balance out negative emotions.
2. The nightly grind
Differing sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can cause people to grind their teeth subconsciously in the night. A medical diagnosis will be required to figure out the cause of your nightly grinding, and your treatment options will vary depending on what your doctor finds to be wrong. For some people, a mouth guard worn overnight will solve the issue, but for others the treatment may lie in fixing the sleep disorder itself.
3. Abnormal alignment
If you have an abnormally aligned bite, it could cause your teeth to rub and hit each other in such a way that causes wear and tear. While this issue is more difficult to fix, it is by no means impossible to help limit the damage done to your teeth! For some people, braces can be the ultimate fix as they realign the teeth and jaw. For others, a mouth guard or other protective device may help to prevent further damage.
4. Daily decisions
Our day to day decisions over what to put in our body have impacts on many aspects of our health. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and injecting illegal drugs can all increase the likelihood of bruxism. The best way to avoid damage done from these substances is simply to avoid partaking in them altogether.
An occasional clench or grind won’t destroy your teeth for life, but when grinding becomes a habit it can have lasting effects. If you’re concerned about your grinding and would like to discuss options with your dentist, now is the time!
Give us a call at Oak Park Dental Group in Chicago to schedule an appointment today!