Night Mouth Guards and Exercises Bruxism Treatment


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Bruxism is defined as “the involuntary or habitual grinding of the teeth.” Teeth grinding is most common during sleep, but it can also happen unconsciously throughout the day. Grinding during the day may be caused by stress, anger, depression, or a myriad of other reasons. Causes for nighttime grinding, however, are less clear. It may be caused by missing teeth or a sleeping disorder, such as sleep apnea. Whatever the cause, constant grinding is very unhealthy for your teeth and can cause a lot of damage.
Dangers of Bruxism: Clenching your teeth at night is equal to putting about 300 pounds of pressure on your teeth. This can cause your teeth to fracture, loosen, or completely fall out. The muscle tension caused by dental stress and teeth grinding can also cause chronic headaches, which may lead to grinding during the day.
Bruxism Treatment: Night mouth guards are typically the best way to protect your teeth during nighttime grinding. Night mouth guards can be bought almost anywhere, but dentists are able to make custom night guards that best fit your mouth and are more comfortable to wear. Exercises to relax the jaw are also known to help treat bruxism. This can be done by clenching your jaw as tightly as possible for several seconds and then allowing it to fall open. Then you press your hand gently against your chin so that it’s offering slight resistance as you open your jaw again. Then move your jaw to the right, relax, then to the left, relax, and then clench it again. Hold that for a few seconds, and then relax it completely. Repeat this a few times each day. Other recommendations include holding a warm and wet washcloth to your jaw, particularly while sleeping, since this can help keep the jaw relaxed while unconscious. Cutting down on caffeine can also help reduce teeth grinding.
Nighttime grinding affects 10% of adults and 15% of children according to the American Sleep Association. If left untreated, it can lead to the cracking of tooth enamel or worse, which can lead to root canals, bridges, crowns, or even sets of dentures. Night mouth guards and jaw exercises are the best way to combat the effects of bruxism and maintain ideal dental health.

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