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  • Dr. Barry Yu

GRINDING TEETH: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, AND HOW TO STOP BRUXISM

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

Grinding of the teeth, scientifically known as bruxism, is a common but often overlooked dental issue that can have significant consequences for your oral health. Many individuals are unaware that they grind their teeth, particularly because it frequently occurs during sleep. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and effective strategies for managing and preventing teeth grinding.


bruxism grinding teeth and nightguard

Understanding Bruxism:


1. Causes of Bruxism:

- Stress and Anxiety: Bruxism is often linked to stress and anxiety, with the tension manifesting as tooth grinding.

- Abnormal Bite: An irregular bite or misalignment of teeth can contribute to bruxism.

- Sleep Disorders: Some sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, may be associated with teeth grinding.

- Lifestyle Factors: Excessive caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco use can exacerbate bruxism.


2. Common Symptoms of Bruxism:

- Morning Headaches: Waking up with headaches is a common sign of teeth grinding.

- Sore Jaw and Facial Muscles: You may experience jaw pain and tired facial muscles.

- Tooth Sensitivity: Worn enamel can lead to increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.

- Damaged Teeth: Bruxism can flatten, chip, or fracture teeth, affecting both their appearance and function.

- Sleep Disturbances: In severe cases, bruxism can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to fatigue.



bruxism grinding teeth and nightguard

Managing Bruxism:


1. Nighttime Mouth Guards:

- A custom-made night guard can offer effective protection for your teeth during sleep. Consult with a dental professional for options that suit your needs.


2. Stress Reduction:

- Incorporate stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine, such as exercise, meditation, or relaxation exercises, to alleviate the tension that contributes to bruxism.


3. Relaxation Techniques:

- Prior to bedtime, unwind with a warm bath, heating pad, or calming herbal tea to relax your jaw muscles and promote restful sleep.


4. Mindfulness Practices:

- Practice mindfulness throughout the day to become more aware of clenching and grinding. When you notice it happening, consciously relax your jaw.


5. Avoid Chewing Habits:

- Avoid chewing gum, ice, or pen caps, as these repetitive motions can perpetuate jaw clenching.


6. Dietary Adjustments:

- On days when bruxism symptoms are prevalent, steer clear of hard-to-chew foods like steak, popcorn, and taffy, which can exacerbate jaw strain.


Conclusion:

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a dental concern that should not be ignored. Left untreated, it can lead to severe consequences, including tooth damage, pain, and disrupted sleep. If you suspect you have bruxism, consider consulting with a dental professional for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. By taking proactive steps and seeking guidance, you can protect your smile and enjoy better oral health.

Don't let teeth grinding compromise your dental well-being. For personalized guidance, expert care, and a compassionate approach to your oral health, remember that at Penn Pacific Dental Center in Singapore, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive dental solutions.

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About Authors

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Graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis (U.S.A.), major in biochemistry and molecular biology, Dr. Yu has further obtained his dental degree (Doctor of Dental Medicine) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (U.S.A.).  Dr. Yu is qualified to practice in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong, and has over 10 years of practicing experience in the US before starting both practices in Hong Kong and Singapore.

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Dr. Chrissie Lam graduated from University of California, Berkeley (U.S.A.) with a bachelor degree in Nutritional Science before earning her doctorate degree in dentistry from University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry (U.S.A.). In her 10 years of practice she took care of her patients, both in U.S.A. and Singapore with her warm demeanor and excellent clinical skills. 

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