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  • Writer's pictureDr. Nahid Afshari


Do you know if you grind your teeth?

The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism. It is not uncommon for people to grind or clench their teeth occasionally. If this happens only from time to time, it will not usually harm the teeth. However, when a person does this on a regular basis it can damage their teeth and cause them other problems. Teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety. However, it often occurs during sleep and is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. It can also be caused by a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.

How do I know if I grind my teeth?

Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth. This is because they grind or clench their teeth at night while they sleep. Some people grind and/or clench their teeth when under stressful situations. Again, they might not even be aware that they are doing it if it has been a habit for a long time. Here are some possible indications of teeth grinding:

  • Sore jaw. Your jaw muscles tighten when you grind or clench your teeth. If you do this repeatedly when you sleep you may wake up with a sore jaw.

  • Headaches. The pain from your jaw created by the clenching then travels to other places in the skull, causing headaches or, in severe cases, migraines.

  • Complaints from your Partner. Your partner hears you grind. Some grinding can be loud enough to wake your partner.

  • Tooth sensitivity or pain. Bruxism can be a cause of aching teeth. However, aching teeth can have different causes such as tooth decay. So contact your dentist as soon as possible if you are experiencing sensitive or aching teeth.

Teeth Grinding can be harmful to your oral health.

Chronic teeth grinding can result in fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. When severe damage to teeth is caused from bruxism, bridges, crowns, root canals or implants will likely be required to repair the damaged teeth. Additionally, bruxism can cause damage to fillings and crowns causing you the expense of getting them replaced.

What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth?

Mouth Guards

One of the best and simplest solutions to preventing teeth grinding is a mouth guard. Your dentist can fit you with mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep. Mouth guards can also be designed so you can wear them during the day, for example: when you are driving.

Other tips to reduce teeth grinding:

  • Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.

  • Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.

  • Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.

  • Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.

In conclusion, don’t ignore possible signs of bruxism. If you suspect you may be suffering from bruxism contact us at Fair Oaks Quality Dental as soon as possible and make an appointment for an examination. We can examine your teeth, look for signs of bruxism and check for any other problems such as crooked teeth or an incorrect bite. This can save you a lot of heartache and cost from getting damaged teeth from teeth grinding.


Dr. Nahid Afshari

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