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Stop Grinding Your Teeth!

A Kirkland dentist discusses on how to stop grinding your teethHave you ever caught yourself grinding your teeth and wondered why you’re doing it? Has your dentist ever mentioned to you that you’re grinding your teeth and you never noticed? Here’s some simple solutions for you to stop grinding your teeth straight from our Kirkland, Washington dental practice.

Teeth grinding, or Bruxism in medical terminology, can happen for a variety of reasons with or without your knowledge. How can this happen without your knowledge? If you’re grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw in your sleep or when you’re stressed, you may not notice that you are in fact doing this.

To help you recognize when you’re grinding your teeth, and to help you stop, we’ve compiled this list of common causes for you.

  • Strong Emotions

     such as anxiety or stress are common causes of teeth grinding. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “bite your tongue,” this is similar. Often times you cant’ take out your stress or anxiety, so you literally clamp down on your jaw to keep it in.

    How to Stop: It’s important to find another protective way to relieve the stress or anxiety. Aggressive options include kickboxing or going for a run. If lower key is more your style, you can try yoga or meditation, or both since they go hand-in-hand quite often.

  •  Abnormal Tooth Alignment

     can also cause teeth grinding for many reasons, including adjusted bit patterns that conform to your tooth alignment.

    How to Stop: This is a more difficult fix. You’ll want to talk to your dentist or orthodontist for options on correcting your tooth alignment and bite. They may recommend braces.

    They could also potentially provide you with less extensive options for protecting your teeth.

  • Sleep Disorders

     such as sleep apnea can also contribute to teeth grinding. Some sleep disorders can be quite serious and will need to be treated by a specialist.

    How to Stop: Based on your diagnosis, your dentist could recommend different options for protecting your teeth in your sleep, like mouth guards that go over a molar and keep your jaw separated in your sleep.

    It’s also possible that treating your sleep disorder will alleviate the teeth grinding and clenching that occurs when you’re deep into your dreams.

  • Diet and Lifestyle Choices

     such as smoking, drinking alcohol, drinking caffeine or even illegal substances can increase bruxism. Aside from the damage done to your teeth by grinding, most of these have other side effects to your skin, gums, hair, nails and internal organs.

    How to Stop: Eliminate the external stimulant from your body by stopping your consumption. (We do not recommend any patients stop taking a prescription medication without speaking with their physician first). If you stop grinding your teeth, you know what was causing the bruxism.

Grinding your teeth can cause irreparable damage to your teeth, including cracks and worn enamel. If you or your dentist finds that you are grinding your teeth, follow their treatment advise.

Read more about bruxism in this WebMD article!

Do you know a teeth grinder? Share this article with them!

Dr. Benjamin Greene
Dr. Greene has been providing high-quality dental care to Kirkland residents for over 25 years. The Kirkland area is Dr. Greene’s home. He grew up in Bellevue and graduated from the University of Washington before attending dental school in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his D.D.S. at Case Western Reserve University and then returned to practice dentistry in Kirkland, where he has become part of the community.
Dr. Benjamin Greene
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