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How to protect your teeth from grinding at night

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If you ever find yourself waking up with an aching jaw or a headache, or if your mouth pops and clicks when you open it, you may have a problem with grinding your teeth at night. Teeth grinding isn’t always a serious problem, but it can become one if it starts to lead to jaw paid or worn, cracked or chipped teeth. Don’t hesitate to seek help!

Teeth grinding is also called bruxism and usually occurs at night while you sleep. It can be linked to stress or sleep disorders. For some people, it’s caused by problems with missing, crooked, or broken teeth.

When you grind your teeth, you are putting a lot of pressure on your smile. At worst, you could damage your jawbone and wake up with painful headaches, neck pains and shoulder pains. If you think you are grinding your teeth at night, let your dentist know, so they can check for signs of damage to your tooth enamel. If it is bad enough, you might need to wear a mouth guard or splint when sleeping.

What is a splint?

• A splint is a mouthguard that protects teeth from grinding.

• Only your dentist should only provide it.

• It is specially moulded to the shape of your teeth.

• It provides your lower teeth with a smooth surface to slide on.

• A splint protects your teeth from further damage and eases the pressure that grinding puts on each individual tooth and your jaw.

What are the causes of teeth grinding and what can I do about it?

Your teeth might be out of alignment or you may have missing teeth.

If it’s stress that’s making you grind your teeth at night, identifying and eliminating the causes will definitely help.

Finding ways to relax in general, such as meditation and exercise might help You may need physical therapy for the muscles around your jaw to alleviate pain and help you to stop clenching.

Neurological disorders such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease can also cause teeth grinding. If you are taking psychiatric medications you should consider checking if bruxism is a known side effect. These problems would need to be assessed by a specialist, so if you or your dentist thinks one of these conditions could be causing you to grind your teeth, see your GP for more information.

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