Almost all people most likely clench or grind their teeth from time to time. Occasional grinding of teeth, which is called bruxism, does not cause any harm; however, when the clenching of teeth happens constantly, it can greatly damage the teeth and may lead to other medical complications as well.
Why Do People Clench Their Teeth?
So why do I clench my teeth especially at night? Though clenching of teeth may be caused by anxiety and stress, it usually happens when a person is asleep. The clenching of teeth is more likely to cause the missing or crooked teeth and an abnormal bite. It may also be due by a sleep disorder called sleep apnea.
How Do I Know If I Clench My Teeth?
Since clenching of teeth usually happens during sleep, almost all people are not aware that they clench their teeth while sleeping. However, a constant and dull headache or inflamed jaw every time you wake up is a sure sign of bruxism. Most of the times, people will know that they clench their teeth when their partner inform them that they do clench their teeth while sleeping.
To know why do I clench my teeth at night especially when I am sleeping, I consult my dentist immediately. The dentist may observe the jaw and mouth for any signs of bruxism such as severely worn out on teeth or inflamed jaw muscles.
Why Is It Harmful To Grind Teeth?
In some situations, constant grinding of teeth may result in a loss or loosening, or fracturing of teeth. The constant clenching of teeth may wear down the teeth to stumps. And when this occur, root canals, implants, bridges, crowns, partial and complete dentures may be required.
In addition to tooth loss due to excessive clenching of teeth, it may also influence the jaws, which may cause TMJ or TMD that may alter the facial appearance.
What To Do To Stop Clenching Of Teeth?
The dentist may ask you to fit a mouth guard to preserve the teeth from clenching while sleeping.
Since the reason why do I clench my teeth is stress, I may consult my dentist or doctor about possible choices to eliminate my stress. Going to stress counseling, consulting a physical therapist, taking medicines for body relaxants and starting a physical exercise program are just some of the possible choices that I can consider.
If the cause of clenching teeth is sleeping disorder, treating the disorder may eliminate or decrease the clenching habit.
Here are some tips to help stop the clenching of teeth:
- Cut back or avoid drinks and foods that may have caffeine like chocolate, coffee, and colas.
- Avert from alcohol. Clenching tends to aggravate after consumption of alcohol.
- Do not chew on pens or pencils or other things besides foods. Avert also from chewing gums as it allows muscle jaws to get used of clenching.
- Relax you muscle jaws before bedtime by putting on a warm cloth on your cheek.