When Stress Affects Your Teeth

It's not just during the day that stress could make you want to gnash your teeth. Those under stress could take things out on their teeth during the night as well. Unfortunately, teeth grinding can be harmful to your teeth. Read on to find out more about teeth-grinding, or bruxism, and about a popular solution.

What's the Harm in Teeth-grinding?

If your partner has reported hearing clicks, clacks, and other strange noises from your mouth area during the night, you might be suffering from bruxism. We've all seen young children who are getting their teeth rubbing their gums together to relieve the discomfort, but bruxism can occur in adults who are under stress too. While occasional incidents should not be harmful, those who make it a habit could encounter cracked and broken teeth, loose teeth, missing fillings, and worn-down teeth along with headaches and jaw pain.

Signs of a Problem

Even those that sleep alone may notice certain signs of bruxism. Look for these red flags:

  1. You awaken with an aching jaw or a headache all the time
  2. You notice a chipped tooth but don't remember how it came to be
  3. Chewing causes a great deal of discomfort all of a sudden
  4. Your dental hygienist notices signs of damage during your dental appointment

What Can Be Done?

If bruxism is a new problem and you are also under stress, consider addressing the root cause of it first by speaking to a doctor or mental health expert. Others have achieved stress relief with meditation, yoga, and other self-help methods. No matter what is causing the bruxism, it's important to halt the damage to your teeth before more damage is done. With that in mind, your dentist might recommend a night mouth guard to use while you deal with the cause of the stress.

All About Night Guards

There are several types of guards, but they all work by covering your teeth to protect them from damage. You can purchase a mouth guard from a drugstore, but the over-the-counter option may not be as effective. You must place the guard in boiling hot water and then, once cooled slightly, place it in your mouth and bite down. The soft plastic molds to your bite, but they can be bulky and uncomfortable. A better solution is a custom-made guard created by your dentist. An impression or digital map is made of your teeth and a dental lab creates a guard that fits comfortably. A well-fitting guard can mean you are more likely to use it, and then your teeth will be more protected.

Visit a dental office near you, and speak with a dentist about how to cope with teeth-grinding using a custom-made mouthguard.