You probably already know that you need to brush and floss your teeth every day. But good dental health is about more than just brushing and flossing. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a relatively common habit that many people do while sleeping. Here are five things you need to know about it:
1. It Affects Adults And Kids
It is estimated that about 10 percent of adults and 15 percent of kids suffer from bruxism. Even if you have never had a habit of grinding your teeth before, you can develop it at any time in your life. Because it is more common in kids than in adults, it’s something that you will want to ask your child’s dentist about when you take him or her for check-ups.
2. It Flattens Your Teeth
Clenching your teeth while you sleep is the equivalent of putting about 300 pounds of force on your teeth. Nighttime grinding can eventually flatten teeth. And flat teeth mean that you might have trouble chewing your food, which might lead to issues with getting the proper nutrients in your diet.
3. You Might Not Know You’re Doing It
Because bruxism is a nighttime condition, you may not be aware that you are grinding your teeth. Your conscious mind is unaware of the action that your body is doing. However, even though you are doing it while you’re sleeping, there are certain side affects of bruxism which may give you a hint that you suffer from it.
4. It Might Be Causing Your Headaches
About 80 percent of headaches are the result of muscle tension, and that can be from dental stress and tooth grinding. If you notice that you are getting headaches more frequently, especially in the morning, that could be a sign that you have developed a habit of grinding your teeth.
5. Night Guards Can Help
The best bruxism treatment is probably a night guard. Your dentist can give you a night guard specifically designed to fit your mouth, which will prevent you from grinding your teeth at night. You don’t necessarily need to wear a night guard forever. Your grinding habit might go away after your wear the night guard for a few months.
Grinding your teeth is a common but dangerous habit that you need to address with your dentist in order to keep your teeth healthy. If you suspect that you might be grinding your teeth, asking your dentist about a night guard as soon as possible.