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Are You Harming Your Teeth While You Sleep?


Posted on 2/7/2022 by Barbara Ketchum
Are You Harming Your Teeth While You Sleep?Even if you take good care of your teeth throughout the day, you may be damaging them overnight or in other circumstances without noticing it. In stressful situations, or during sleep, many people experience teeth grinding and jaw clenching (bruxism). If you don't address these actions, they can wear down your mouth and cause damage that could be permanent.

Symptoms and Causes of Bruxism


Most people who grind their teeth and clench their jaws do so due to anxiety and stress. This can happen throughout the day as well as while sleeping. You might not even be aware that you're doing this even if you are fully awake. Bruxism is one way in which the body manifests stress, even if we are not conscious of it. When you are experiencing high levels of stress, be aware of what going on in your mouth. Clenching your teeth or grinding your jaw are signs of stress. Bruxism can be caused by substance abuse such as drugs, alcohol, and caffeine, teeth alignment issues, and sleep apnea.

Treatment of Bruxism


If you clench your jaw while sleeping, dentists commonly prescribe a mouth guard. Better sleep will leave you feeling more refreshed and pain-free the next day. It may take you some time to get used to the mouthguard, but it's vital that you continue to wear it. Your mouth will adapt over time, and you'll wonder how you ever slept without a mouthguard in the first place. It will stop bruxism, but it will not address the underlying causes. Your dentist may recommend a visit to a sleep specialist in order to diagnose deeper issues such as sleep apnea. An experienced therapist may be able to help resolve stress or anxiety that is causing bruxism and create long-term change.
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