Do you clench your teeth in fear, frustration, anxiety or anger? Or it is your daily habit to rub or grind your teeth? If yes, then you must know the ill-effects of this habit on your teeth and oral health. The medical term for this practice is ‘Bruxism’. When a person grinds his teeth or rubs them together, the jaws are moved forcibly which may hamper the alignment of your teeth and also trigger other oral problems. To know more about this health issue, read this article where we have also compiled some effective ways to get rid of this habit.
Causes of Bruxism
Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a common disorder that is generally caused by stress, anxiety and anger. The problem is also associated with some neurological and psychological disorders. It is an unconscious neuromuscular activity that includes myofascial muscle pain, headache and temporomandibular joint disease. Apart from these, there are certain habitual causes that make a person grind his teeth. These are:
- In children, tooth grinding usually occurs after the first tooth appears and it shall continue until the teeth come out. It usually stops once the tooth is completely grown.
- Many times people also grind their teeth due to stress, anger, anxiety and poor concentration. Research has found that increased heartbeat, brain activity, and central nervous system (CNS) have a major role to trigger bruxism.
- Bruxism may be also related to an abnormal bite where your teeth do not touch properly when the jaw is closed.
- If your teeth on the top do not completely touch the teeth at the bottom, then this also gives rise to bruxism in people.
- In some people, facial muscle cramping during sleep occurs due to which they clench their teeth while sleeping.
Health Problems Caused Due To Bruxism
Clenching or grinding teeth may cause teeth to fall down or become small or fragmented. At the same time, it puts pressure on the muscles, tissues and other structures around the jaw. This has a lot of ill-effects on the health and bruxism may cause numerous health problems such as:
- Acute pain and stiffness in teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Loose or broken teeth
- Neck pain
- Clicking or popping on the joints of jaws
- Ear pain
Other major symptoms include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and insomnia. Relationship problems can develop if the noise of teeth grinding annoys a sleeping partner. Excessive bruxism can damage the teeth, especially the molar surfaces. It can also be a victim of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.
Ways to avoid it
- To avoid grinding teeth, first, you have to reduce stress. Try to stay stress-free. Relax in the break time.
- Get enough sleep of 7 to 9 hours. This would ease stress.
- Practice yoga and meditation to get control of your anger.
- Keep TV and mobile away from yourself at bedtime. Try to stop using these gadgets at least half an hour before sleeping.
- Never ignore anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses.
- Stop eating sugar, chocolate, coffee and energy drinks.
- Include foods rich in nutrients like calcium and magnesium in your diet.
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