Tooth Grinding

Written by Patricia Skinner
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Some of us react in a particularly tense way to outside stressors. If you regularly find yourself clenching your jaws so tightly that your jaw and neck ache, then you are probably a tooth grinder. Often, people who are in the habit of grinding their teeth even do so at night when they are asleep.

This can have an extremely damaging effect over time. Tooth enamel can be worn away so that height is actually lost from the teeth. The pressure can damage the roots and nerves of teeth, even leading to bone loss and eventual loss of teeth. Some specialists blame tooth grinding, or bruxism, for sinus problems which they say can be caused by the pressure. An activity that goes with the bruxism is called trisma: this is when a person habitually clenches his or her jaws.

Try This Technique

There are techniques that can be learned to stop you clamping your jaws or grinding your teeth. Try gently pressing the tip of your tongue against the inside of your front teeth, while consciously keeping your jaws slightly apart. This should get you out of the habit of damaging habits.

It won't help during the night though, and a lot of damage can be done while we're asleep. While taking steps to ease stress and relax, we need to find ways of keeping the pressure off our teeth and jaws while we're asleep. Wearing a night guard is the ideal solution and can solve the problem for a very small outlay. You can also use a night guard during the day and while you're participating in any non-contact sport such as golf, tennis or bowling, where you might be tempted to grind your teeth.

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