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Signs That You're Grinding Your Teeth

Edited By: Krista Mc'Farlene
 When you are in a deep sleep each night, you may not be aware of the things your body does on its own - one of which is teeth grinding which could be wreaking havoc on your system without you even knowing it. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism can occur during the day or night, but it is especially common during sleep. It affects adults and children all over the world and is estimated that up to 25 million Americans suffer from it when either awake or asleep.  
 
grinding your teeth
When grinding your teeth, you may or may not make a noise, or clench or your jaw. The movement can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes at a time. If it's a chronic condition, it can lead to tooth loss, cracking, enamel damage, receding gums, poor sleep or even TMJ! Most cases are linked to stress and anxiety. Other causes include sleep apnea, breathing through the mouth and dental problems. Here are some signs to bear in mind.
1. Headaches
grinding your teeth

Clenching your teeth causes tension in the muscles of your jaw, which in turn can cause headaches or serious migraines. Should you wake up with a headache some mornings and are unsure of why that may be, it could be due to overnight teeth grinding. 

2. Worn Teeth

Your dentist may notice that your teeth are worn and flattened, this is often the first indicator of a problem. Your canine teeth may also show signs of wear.

3. Sore Jaw
grinding your teeth

Jaw pain that comes and goes or is consistent could be a signal of bruxism. Your jaw may feel tired or weak if you've been grinding your teeth throughout the night. You may also have trouble opening and closing your mouth, or pain that has extended into the ear area, feeling like an earache. 

As such, there is no cure for teeth grinding, though dentists often prescribe mouth guards for patients to wear at night. Seeking treatment for stress, sleep disorders or pain may also be necessary to help manage the condition for both adults and kids.

To offset some of the effects of teeth grinding on your own, be sure to cut down on your alcohol intake. This is because alcohol consumption can affect the nerves and sleep leading to an increase in bruxing at night. Furthermore, certain prescriptions have been shown to have side effects that can cause teeth grinding. You could also visit a physical therapist or chiropractor to help your body manage tension, stress, and pain. 

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