What is Bruxism? Who is affected and why? What can you do about it?
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a habit of grinding your teeth, clenching them over and over, eventually wearing teeth in the process. The pressure from grinding can cause teeth to break and crack, increasing chances of gum problems.
Who is affected and why?
Research has shown that children as young as preschool-aged can develop this habit. What research struggles to explain why we develop this habit. Some suggest that stress can be a cause.
In preschoolers, studies found a correlation between grinding their teeth and signs of stress such as social withdrawal and anxiety.
Another reason for children to develop this habit is when their baby teeth and their permanent teeth are coming in. Nail biting can be another reason.
Some medications or recreational drugs may cause users to grind and clench their jaw and teeth. Alcohol, tobacco or caffeinated drinks can increase your risk of bruxism as well.
What can you do about it?
Talk to your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:
Jaw pain, especially when you wake up
A morning headache
A filling falls out
Teeth that are flattened, fractured or chipped
Teeth sensitivity to hot or cold drinks or food
Our dentist can talk to you about using an oral appliance, also known as a night guard. A nightguard is a hard-plastic tray that fits over either your top or bottom teeth to protect them and may help to reduce your teeth grinding or teeth clenching.