Tooth grinding and tooth clenching, also called bruxism, is a common condition that that many children and adults experience. Bruxism occurs when the teeth contact each other in a forceful fashion. In some cases this can be silent or in other cases can cause a loud sound, most often when sleeping.
Bruxism can occur because of psychological stress that people may be dealing with during the week. Stress can be categorized in two ways — by internal and external factors.
Internal factors could be the foods you consume, your level of fitness, your emotional stability, your overall health and well-being, and the amount of sleep you get each night. External factors of psychological stress include the environment you are in each day, interaction with others and how you deal with challenges on a daily basis.
There are several symptoms that can occur when someone experiences bruxism:
Individuals suffering from bruxism should see a dental professional to determine why they are experiencing this problem. Your dental professional may recommend that you wear a mouth guard or a night guard to cushion the clenching or tooth grinding during sleeping. Additionally, your dental professional may suggest ways to reduce stress so you can decrease the level of bruxism. You should consider avoiding foods like chocolate, caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages. Avoid chewing forcefully.
Your dentist may suggest conducting exercises to relax your jaw muscles during the day. If your bruxism is more severe, an occlusal splint may be recommended and medication prescribed to help relax you or make you sleep more soundly.
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