You are here because clenching your teeth is becoming a source of embarrassment to you and you want to stop this. The truth is you are not into this alone. Studies have shown that nearly 3 billion people worldwide clench their teeth. But this doesn’t mean it is a normal thing. It is something you should not be proud of. It is a habit you need to stop immediately.
Unfortunately, people can’t stop what they don’t know exists. A lot of people are living with this condition without knowing it. This is because it is very difficult to diagnose. It can take months, by then significant damages may already be done. This condition affects people of all ages causing severe tooth damage, jaw disorder and headaches. It was estimated that nearly 10 percent of those that grind their teeth do it so severely that their teeth are reduced to small nubs.
I have good news for you. You came to the right place.
However, I need to warn you. Just like in the case of stopping being a germaphobe, this is not a quick fix solution. But what you are going to learn here is an evergreen solution to your problem. But before we dive in, you need to understand what bruxism is.
What is bruxism?
Yes. It is a condition that leads to the parafunctional use of the teeth. It is characterized by the excessive grinding or gnashing of the teeth.
People occasionally grind their teeth and this is harmless. It is only when they do this excessively that it I characterized as a health problem.
There are two types of bruxism. There is the diurnal bruxism – where you grind your teeth while awake and the nocturnal bruxism – where you do this while sleeping, even during short naps. This type of bruxism is the most common type and it is one of the most common sleep disorders.
What causes these teeth clenching you might ask.
There are quite a number of reasons why you do this. But the bad news is, the causes of this clenching are largely unknown.
While Medical Practitioners have made efforts to identify certain causes of awake bruxism, they are still at loss at what causes the sleep bruxism. But there is a consensus it may be due to a combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors. Understanding the reasons why you grind your teeth is as important as understanding how to stop it.
So here are the top commonly agreed causes of teeth clenching.
People sometimes respond to stress by grinding their teeth without even knowing they are doing that.
Stress is the body’s automatic defense system against real and imagined threats. It can help you stay alert and energetic. It only becomes a problem when it becomes chronic. This is because it can stifle your immune system, increase the risk of heart attacks and makes you age easily. It is believed to be the primary cause of teeth clenching.
When people are anxious they intend to react in certain ways, which may include grinding their teeth or picking your nails.
Anxiety is a feeling of unease which causes nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying. It is the natural human reaction to stressful situations. Just like stress, the feeling of anxiety is normal, especially when you faced with imminent danger. It only becomes a condition when it happens regularly without a trigger.
When people are concentrating deeply on work activities, pays attention to a speaker or an event, they tend to grind their teeth.
Deep concentration can be achieved by suppressing noise and distractions. People tend to black themselves out of these noises and distraction by involuntarily clenching their teeth.
Changes in the brain wave activities can cause people to clench their teeth. Sleep arousal is the sudden change in the brain wave activities. It is usually a shift from a deep sleep state to a lighter one where you can easily be awakened from, or even completely to an awaken stage. When people are aroused during their sleep, they don’t only clench their teeth, but can sometimes stretch themselves or utter inaudible sounds.
You now know what causes teeth clenching, but can you identify the signs of this condition?
If yes, jump to the next section.
If no, continue to follow along carefully.
Symptoms of teeth clenching
Unlike the causes of teeth clenching, luckily, the symptoms of teeth clenching are well known. However, the bad news is that it can take a lot of time before these signs can be correctly associated with teeth clenching. This is true especially for those that fail to visit the dentist regularly.
However, when you start seeing these signs just know that you have been clenching your teeth.
Grinding sounds while sleeping
Clenching your teeth at night can make some sound while sleeping.
Though you won’t know you are making these sounds, or will ever know unless you are told. But if your partner consistently complains of these sounds at night then know you clench your teeth.
Pains around the jaws and ears areas
Grinding of the teeth can make you feel pains around the ears or jaw areas.
Excessive grinding of the teeth stresses the muscles around the jaw and ear areas. This will strain the muscles and cause you to start feeling pains around that area with time. So when you start feeling pains in those areas, it is a sign you have been clenching your teeth without knowing.
Grinding your teeth can make your teeth to become sensitive to different temperatures. There are products on the market offering help for those with sensitive gums and teeth!
When your teeth become extremely sensitive to temperature unlike before, then you might have been clenching your teeth. This is because grinding your teeth wears them out making them extremely sensitive to cold and hot temperatures.
Bruxing can damage your beautiful teeth making them deformed.
Grinding your teeth can cause frictions between the upper and lower teeth. You already know that frictions cause wears. These wears will cause your teeth to be damaged, lead to tooth decay and cause a permanent damage to jaw point. I guess you don’t want all these; that is why you are here in the first place.
How to stop clenching your teeth
But before we proceed, I will like to correct one notion. A lot of people have erroneously classified bruxism as a reflex chewing activity. But the truth is, it is not. It is just a habit that is capable of being unlearned.
So here is how to unlearn the habit and treat bruxism.
Step 1: Reduce stress and anxiety
Managing stress and anxiety is the easiest way to stop grinding your teeth.
Stress has been identified as the primary cause of teeth clenching. Reducing this stress will not only reduce your risk of heart attack or unproductively, but will also help you to stop clenching your teeth.
Step 2: Wear a Mouthguard
Wear mouth guard or splint to prevent friction between your teeth.
The mouth guard is designed to protect your teeth from grinding by keeping them separated. This will save your teeth from damage by preventing frictions. Wearing this can be uncomfortable especially if you are doing this for the first time.
Step 3: Correct misaligned teeth
Pay a dentist a visit.
Misaligned teeth can cause you to grind your teeth. But a dentist can help you correct this by aligning them teeth properly. It is important you do this as soon as possible to prevent severe damage.
Step 4: Use muscle relaxant
Try to relax the jaw muscles.
Relaxing the jaw with muscle relaxant can help you to stop bruxism. This will prevent the jaw from clenching while sleeping. Though these drugs are great for helping you to stop clenching your teeth they are also addictive. Some of them can adversely affect your liver. So it is important to avoid self-medication.
Step 5: Treating small airways
Treat small airways condition in the lung to stop the root of teeth clenching.
Small airways in lung disease are the root cause of teeth grinding especially at night. Treating this will help you to stop bruxing by removing the obstruction in your airways. This treatment can also be used to control asthma. This is important because teeth clenching is found among people with asthma.
Teeth clenching isn’t something you should allow to linger. Apart from the severe pains, it can cause, it can also be a source of embarrassment to you.
Reducing the amount of stress and anxiety, wearing the mouth guard, correcting misaligned teeth, using muscle relaxants and treating small airways can help you to stop clenching your teeth.