Stress affects people of all ages in all walks of life — there’s no getting around it. To cope, we all form certain habits, many of which are unconscious. Some people’s habits are fairly harmless, like nail biting or fidgeting. Many stress-coping mechanisms, however, can be very harmful to your health.
More people than you might realize end up dealing with stress while they sleep. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a very common side effect of stress.
The most serious problem caused by teeth grinding is the constant wearing down of tooth enamel, which is critical to your teeth’s strength. Once enamel has been worn away, it’s impossible to get back, which is why it’s so important to stop grinding in its tracks.
Loss of enamel, unfortunately, is not the only negative consequence of bruxism. A recent study linked bruxism to other sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea, which can be both the cause and effect of several secondary health problems.
Sleep disorders like these cause people to suffer jaw soreness and exhaustion during the day. Being tired and in pain all day can significantly impact your performance at work and your daily happiness, in addition to your long-term health.
So, the question is: How do you stop grinding your teeth?
1. Understand bruxism.
Because bruxism affects people in very different ways, it’s important to do your homework and have your particular case examined by a dentist before jumping to conclusions and seeking treatment on your own.
Just because you’re tired during the day or experience frequent headaches doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re grinding your teeth — these issues could be the result of several other conditions. This’s why you should have a doctor confirm the signs as soon as you suspect there may be a problem.
Signs of teeth grinding: