Neglecting your oral health by refusing to brush and floss your teeth is a sure-fire way to destroy your smile. Sometimes, though, you can expose your teeth to damage in a much subtler manner, such as through unconscious habits that can destroy your tooth’s structure. One such habit, called bruxism, involves the grinding of one’s teeth, which is a common reaction during times of excessive stress, anger, anxiety, or other negative emotions, but is destructive when indulged continuously.
Bruxism patients typically grind their teeth while sleeping, when they are helpless to stop it, and may not notice their condition until their oral health begins to suffer from it. If you notice tooth damage, or happen to catch yourself grinding your teeth often, try these tips to overcome bruxism and save your teeth.
Tips to Stop Bruxism
Although most instances of habitual teeth-grinding are manifested at night, daytime occurrences are also common. Practice self-awareness by taking a moment once in a while to concentrate on what your body’s doing. When you notice your jaw clenched, make a conscious effort to relax it. Place the tip of your tongue between your upper and lower front teeth to fight the tooth-grinding urge. Self-preservation should prevent you from clamping down on your tongue and will force your jaws to relax.
While there are a number of different factors that can contribute to bruxism, experts agree that stress is one of the most significant risk factors. If you feel overly stressed, take up a relaxing hobby or routine, such as exercise or yoga classes. Learn to meditate for small periods at a time, and when you have a few moments throughout the day, find seclusion to calm your mind and relieve the day’s stress.
Though you cannot be self-aware while you are asleep, you can still protect yourself from bruxism at night. Your dentist can fit you with a sleep guard, which is similar to a sports mouth guard, but worn to keep your teeth separated while your sleep. The barrier will prevent your teeth from scraping across each other, helping to prevent dental damage associated with the condition.