You could be causing damage to your teeth without even realizing it! Teeth grinding, a condition known as bruxism, wears down your enamel and leaves your teeth vulnerable to fractures and decay. Because teeth grinding usually happens at night when you’re asleep, you probably won’t be aware of the problem until your dentist spots the signs. Here’s how to recognize the symptoms and stop nighttime teeth grinding so you can protect your dental health.
Symptoms of Nighttime Teeth Grinding
Do you wake up with a dull headache in the morning? Have you noticed any pain in your face or jaw? Do you have any teeth that feel loose or cause pain when you bite down? If so, you might be grinding your teeth at night. Here are the signs of nighttime teeth grinding to watch for:
- jaw pain
- disrupted sleep
- loose or painful teeth
How to Stop Teeth Grinding at Night
1: Get a Mouth Guard
Nighttime teeth grinding erodes your tooth enamel and can also cause chipped or broken teeth. Wearing a nightguard while you sleep will help prevent permanent damage from bruxism. You can buy a mouth guard at the pharmacy, or get a custom-fitted mouthguard from your dentist. If you’re grinding your teeth because of a misalignment, orthodontic treatments like Invisalign will also help.
2: Reduce Stress
One of the main causes of nighttime teeth grinding is stress. Reducing stress may sound like an impossible task, but there are many simple things you can do to lower your stress levels before bedtime. Taking a hot shower or bath, using aromatherapy, or setting aside 15 minutes for some calming yoga or meditation before can all help you ease stress and sleep better.
3: Relieve Pain
Chronic pain often causes jaw-clenching and teeth grinding during sleep. Over-the-counter pain relievers, ice packs or heating pads, and self-massage can all help reduce pain so you can sleep more soundly. Depending on the cause of your pain, your doctor might recommend physical therapy, a prescription pain reliever, or other medications to help you manage chronic pain.
4: Get a Sound Sleep
Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Audio sleep aids like calming music, nature sounds, white noise from a fan, or “bedtime stories for adults” could help. If you frequently wake up during the night to go to the bathroom, try limiting your beverage intake for an hour or two before bedtime. If you suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia, seek treatment so you can get a better night’s rest.
Do You Grind Your Teeth at Night?
If you’ve noticed any signs of nighttime teeth grinding, talk to the dentists at Exceptional Smiles. We will conduct a thorough examination to determine whether bruxism is affecting your dental health. We can also fit you with a comfortable, custom mouth guard to protect your teeth from the damage teeth grinding causes. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in Colorado Springs.