12 Signs You’re Grinding Your Teeth at Night – Bruxism Symptoms – Prevention.com

Natural Cure For Tmj, Bruxing and Tooth Grinding

12 Signs You're Grinding Your Teeth At Night - Bruxism Symptoms - Prevention.com

If you’re feeling more stress than usual these days (and who isn’t?), it can manifest in surprising ways. You may lose your cool when you normally wouldn’t, feel more tension headaches coming on, and notice more hair falling out in the shower.

12 Signs You're Grinding Your Teeth At Night - Bruxism Symptoms - Prevention.com

You could also be grinding your teeth at night without realizing it. In fact, in a new essay for The New York Times, one dentist says she’s seeing “an epidemic” of tooth fractures due to teeth grinding, also known as bruxism.

12 Signs You're Grinding Your Teeth At Night - Bruxism Symptoms - Prevention.com

Other dentists are witnessing this, too. “Research shows over the past six months there’s been a rise in anxiety, depression, and mental illness, which can all be correlated to an increase in bruxing and clenching,” explains Julie Cho, D.M.D., a dentist in New York City and member of the American Dental Association.

12 Signs You're Grinding Your Teeth At Night - Bruxism Symptoms - Prevention.com

Because bruxism often happens while you’re fast asleep, you’re usually not aware of it. Here are the major signs you might be grinding your teeth at night, plus why it’s so important to do something about it.

12 Signs You're Grinding Your Teeth At Night - Bruxism Symptoms - Prevention.com

Why do people grind their teeth?

Bruxism is a condition in which you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This can happen during the day, but it often happens at night. Grinding your teeth while asleep can be especially problematic because you have no idea how hard you’re biting down. In fact, your bite strength can administer up to 250 pounds of force.

12 Signs You're Grinding Your Teeth At Night - Bruxism Symptoms - Prevention.com

It’s unclear why this happens, but according to the American Dental Association (ADA), stress and anxiety, trouble sleeping, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth can all lead to bruxism. Like many other health conditions, bruxism can be mild or severe, occasional or frequent, per the ADA.

12 Signs You're Grinding Your Teeth At Night - Bruxism Symptoms - Prevention.com

What are the signs you’re grinding your teeth?

There are actually a lot. Johns Hopkins Medicine specifically lists the following:

12 Signs You're Grinding Your Teeth At Night - Bruxism Symptoms - Prevention.com

  • Worn teeth
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Facial pain
  • Overly sensitive teeth
  • Tense facial and jaw muscles
  • Headaches
  • Dislocation of your jaw
  • Locking of your jaw
  • A popping or clicking sound in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull
  • Tongue indentations
  • Damage to the inside of your cheek
  • Wear facets, i.e. flat, smooth areas created on the biting surfaces of your teeth as they are rubbed together repeatedly

Some of those, like having worn teeth, can be tough for you to spot without a dentist’s help. That’s why Dr. Cho recommends being especially wary of waking up with headaches, having an achy-feeling jaw, having teeth that are sensitive (especially to extreme temperatures), and interrupted sleep.

Why it’s so important to get teeth grinding treated

It’s easy to dismiss grinding your teeth as no biggie, especially since you probably don’t catch yourself doing it. But it can actually be a huge issue and lead to more serious health problems, says Nathan Lawson, D.M.D., Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. “Tooth grinding can lead to tooth pain, TMJ pain, loss of chewing ability, and an unaesthetic appearance of the teeth and of one’s face,” he says.

You can even break your teeth, or grind your teeth so much that the normal cusps and valleys that are in your teeth (and are needed for chewing) become flattened out, Dr. Cho says

Bottom line: This isn’t an issue you want to ignore, so schedule an appointment with your dentist if you think you grind your teeth at night. They can take a look at your mouth and teeth, and try to help figure out a solution, Dr. Lawson says.

It could be as simple as having you wear a mouthguard at night, or you may need something more complex, like orthodontics, to help solve the problem. You may even need interventional behavioral therapy, like learning how to rest your tongue, teeth, and lips properly, or treatment called biofeedback, which measures the amount of muscle activity in your mouth and jaw and lets you know when it’s too much. Stress management techniques, like reading, taking a walk, and having a warm bath before bed, may also help, per the ADA.

When in doubt, per Dr. Cho: “Patients should go see their dentist ASAP.”

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Korin Miller Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Self, Glamour, and more. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io