Many of us grind our teeth from time to time, whether it’s out of frustration, or simply a bad habit. And usually, that occasional grinding (sometimes called Bruxism) doesn’t cause much harm. But other people actually have a problem with consistently grinding their teeth, even at night when they may not even realize it. This kind of constant grinding can actually cause damage to your teeth, and potentially be dangerous.
Not only can your teeth themselves become damaged from regular grinding, but other oral health problems can be thrown into the mix as well. Why is it actually so harmful?
Grinding can not only cause your teeth to become loose, it can actually wear them down. If you have crowns, fillings, etc., regular grinding can cause them to fall off. Extreme grinding can even result in complete tooth loss, or other problems like TMJ, or extreme jaw pain. In some cases, grinding can even change the overall shape and appearance of the jaw, giving your face an entirely different look.
That doesn’t mean you should instantly be worried if you might be grinding your teeth. While it usually happens at night while we sleep, there are a few telltale signs when it comes to grinding that you might experience when you wake up in the morning. Some common symptoms of grinding your teeth include things like jaw or neck pain in the morning, or even headaches. If you sleep closely to someone, you can even ask them to listen throughout the night to determine whether or not you grind your teeth.
If you do discover that you grind your teeth, and are starting to experience symptoms from it, it’s a good idea to see a dentist as soon as possible. They may suggest a mouth guard to wear at night to prevent the grinding, or a few simple lifestyle changes you can make, such as a change in diet, increased exercise, and a reduced level of stress.