Have you ever been woken up in the night by your partner with a “stop grinding your teeth!!” This has become a major problem for the dental industry AND our teeth!
In recent years the number of patients suffering from bruxism (teeth grinding) has increased significantly. Worst still, most people don’t even realise they’re grinding their teeth because it happens while they’re sleeping, which is actually the most dangerous way.
Grinding your teeth while asleep is often associated with REM sleep, or rapid eye movement, which can occur when you’re having a dream that’s “vivid, intense or violent.”
Dentists say that nearly everyone grinds their teeth, but only a handful will go to a dentist complaining of migraine-type headaches, chipped teeth, cracked fillings and jaws that actually “pop.”
Sufferers will often go to the dentist or doctor to relieve their symptoms, but will not actually tackle the underlying problems… At least 70 percent of grinding issues are attributable to STRESS, according to the Colgate Oral Care Center, the Colgate-Palmolive website for dental health information.
The ways in which people tend to relieve stress, such as drinking alcohol in excess or smoking cigarettes, only doubles the likelihood of teeth grinding. Excess coffee drinking, which makes many people jittery, raises the odds by 1.5. The problem becomes even worse around the holidays or the festive season due to the stress caused by shopping for gifts, traveling and family gatherings, which could include drinking during celebrations.
Teeth grinding can be a serious issue. Normal chewing puts approximately 68 pounds of pressure per square inch on your molars, and deliberate clenching of the jaw raises this to 150 pounds. But for those who unconsciously grind their teeth while sleeping, the pressure surges up to 900 pounds, or more than a month of normal wear.
The worst part: Not even knowing you’re doing it until your jaw starts clicking and your fillings fall out. This is particularly true with “night grinding” because people are asleep when it happens.
So what can be done? Fixing the problem of teeth grinding can be relatively easy, if caught before it worsens. And it can be relatively inexpensive. A good mouthguard, such as the F.O.S. splint, can solve night grinding.
Stress however is a more difficult problem. Routine exercise, yoga and meditation could be the answer, according to medical professionals. Sufferers MUST break the habit that’s causing the grinding and the pain before it becomes chronic.