Grinding your teeth in your sleep is a condition called bruxism. People typically do this when they're in a state of deep sleep.
Both children as well as adults can suffer from bruxism. Although it can be harmless, over time this habit can cause damage to the teeth.
What causes bruxism and how can you treat it?
What Is Teeth Grinding?
Bruxism is a disease which causes your teeth to grind against each other.
In most cases, it stops on its own over time, but in case it doesn't, it's advisable to consult a dentist or an ENT specialist.
"Some people associate grinding their teeth with worms in the stomach, when there's really no scientific evidence behind this."Dr.Charu Nathani, Director - Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Max Multispecialty Hospital
What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism?
Grinding your teeth in your sleep
A mild headache after waking up
Stiffness or pain in the jaw
Loss of teeth
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
A number of reasons could be behind why you're grinding your teeth in your sleep:
Obstructive sleep apnea
Excessive alcohol intake and smoking
Excessive caffeine intake, both tea and coffee
Exhaustion or increased exertion
"There can be many reasons for teeth grinding, but the most common cause is sleep apnea. If someone snores in their sleep or there is an interruption in their breathing while they're asleep it could make them grind their teeth."Aparna Mahajan, Consultant ENT, Fortis Escorts Hospital
Treatment and Care for Bruxism
To treat and care for bruxism, follow these measures:
Contact a doctor about your condition
Ensure you get adequate sleep, ideally 8 hours, every night
Avoid using TV or other electronic devices before bed
Reduce your stress levels
Don't ignore mental health problems
Consume coffee and tea in moderation
What To Do To Stop Teeth Grinding?
If you've been grinding your teeth it might be an indicator of deeper rooted problems.
Make sure to contact an ENT specialist or a dentist if the problem persists. Along with that, you can also take some of these measures:
Get a sleep apnea test (on your doctor's advice)
Avoid alcohol consumption
Consult a therapist to better manage your stress
Drink less coffee
Use a mouth guard ,after speaking to your dentist
Practice exercises to relax your jaw muscles
How To Stop Your Children From Grinding Their Teeth
This problem tends to be more common in children. Psychologists believe that the reason behind this may be linked to stress or anxiety.
Parents should give their children time to relax and make quality time to relieve stress.
Here are some tips that can help:
If your child grinds their teeth often, take them to a dentist
Talk to your children to understand their mental state
If they suffer from shortness of breath, consult an ENT specialist
Try stretching exercises and massages to relax their muscles
Ensure your child is adequately hydrated and drinking enough water
Grinding your teeth can be harmful in the long run, in some cases can even lead to fractures.
Bruxism can also cause teeth to decay at the root and sometimes affect your face and appearance.
If left untreated, bruxism can lead to an early need for bridges, crowns, root canal treatments, implants, partial dentures and even a full set of dentures.
So take that step today, and keep smiling.