Los Algodones Dentists Guide

Tooth Clenching: Bad Habit

Our smile is something we have to protect. It is not only through brushing and flossing that we can accomplish this, but also through avoiding certain habits. Clenching and grinding our teeth is one of them.

Your dental health is something that concerns us here in Los Algodones. So we are going to give you some hindsight what this clenching stems from, how it happens, how to stop it and more for this article.

Tooth clenching, what exactly is it?

Tooth grinding or clenching, also called bruxism, is when we grit our teeth out of anxiety or stress. This can happen during the day or at night as we sleep.

Although it is more common in adults, there are at times where children may do this.

When does it happen?

Now that we have a small idea of how it happens, we know that it can happen during the day while we are awake and during the night as we are asleep.

During the day it is triggered through stress and anxiety scenarios most of the time. Situations where we are subconsciously concentrating or having a bad time can make this happen, such as when working out or under stress.

Then at night, as we mentioned earlier, it is possible that we grit and grind our teeth as we sleep.  This is totally involuntary and you may wake up with a headache and/or jaw pain when it happens.

What are the causes behind this clenching?

Here we will give some more insight as to why it triggers. As you may already know, it is paired with stress, anxiety and sleep disorders.

Other than that, this can be triggered by medication or some sleep problems. Some medication can have drawbacks, as it is the case with some antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs.

Another way of this to happen is due a misaligned bite. The reason behind is this is that the teeth are not positioned correctly, giving an odd shape that makes it easier for teeth to be in a position where they clash together.

Problems that arise from bruxism

Gritting and clenching our teeth together gets bad when it is done often. Our tooth enamel is the hardest part of our body, so when they are grinding against each other, they wear down and can even break.

As such, it can result in our teeth chipping and fracturing, leading to tooth loss ultimately. Other than that, it wears down the surfaces, which may subject dental procedures such as implants, crowns, root canals and more.

Moreover, it brings unwanted pressure to our jaws, which lead to headaches, migraines and temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

How do we stop this?

In order to stop this habit on its tracks, we have to take action and measures. Los Algodones dentists recommend these tips to tackle and deal with this issue both in the day and at night:

  • Relax! The number one priority for avoiding this habit is to be at ease. You can do so by engaging in easy activities such as reading, listening to music, yoga and anything that can help relieve stress.
  • Keep your upper and lower teeth from touching. Maintain the tip of your tongue in-between to further avoid gritting.
  • Use a warm washcloth against your jaw muscles at night to help them relax.
  • Consider getting a night guard if you find yourself gritting your teeth as you sleep.