If you’re like most people, you’ve likely developed new habits since the pandemic. Habits like binge-watching on Netflix or learning to color and style your own hair, but what about teeth grinding?
I know about teeth grinding first hand. During a recent visit to my dentist, he told me he could tell I’d been grinding my teeth. And actually, I’m more of a “teeth clincher” than “grinder”. Either way, my dentist says neither one is good for my teeth. And believe or not, I was pretty clueless I was even doing it.
My dentist told me it was likely due to stress. But, I’ve learned there are other factors for “teeth grinding” or bruxism as it’s professionally called.
According to the NHS (National Health Service) website, grinding or clinching your teeth can be due to:
- stress and anxiety
- sleep disorders
- lifestyle (drinking alcohol, smoking, recreational drugs)
- facial pain
- pain and stiffness in the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) and surrounding muscles, which can lead to temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
- disrupted sleep (for you or your partner)
- worn-down teeth, which can lead to increased sensitivity and even tooth loss
- broken teeth or fillings
The good news for you teeth grinders. There is treatment!
- mouth guard/mouth splint
- sleep hygiene – muscle-relaxation exercises
- cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- botox – Dentists say you only need a small amount. Botox injected in the jaw stops the nerve from telling the muscle to contract and makes involuntary grinding more difficult