Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) (cont.)
In this Article
- What causes people to grind their teeth?
- What are bruxism symptoms and signs?
- Why is teeth grinding harmful?
- What is the treatment for bruxism?
- Do children grind their teeth?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth?
Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.
If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress. Attending stress counseling, starting an exercise program, seeing a physical therapist or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some of the options that may be offered.
Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:
- Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.
- Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
- Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
- Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
- Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.
Do Children Grind Their Teeth?
The problem of teeth grinding is not limited to adults. Approximately 15% to 33% of children grind their teeth. Children who grind their teeth tend to do so at two peak
Most commonly, children grind their teeth during sleep rather than during waking hours. No one knows exactly why children grind their teeth but considerations include improperly aligned teeth or irregular contact between upper and lower teeth, illnesses and other medical conditions (such as nutritional deficiencies, pinworm, allergies, endocrine disorders) and psychological factors including anxiety and stress.
Grinding of the baby teeth rarely results in problems. However, teeth grinding can cause jaw pain, headaches, wear on the teeth and TMD. Consult your dentist if your child's teeth look worn or if your child complains of tooth sensitivity or pain.
Specific tips to help a child stop grinding his or her teeth include:
- Decrease your child's stress, especially just before bed.
- Try massage and stretching exercises to relax the muscles.
- Make sure your child's diet includes plenty of water dehydration may be linked to teeth grinding.
- Ask your dentist to monitor your child's teeth if he or she is a grinder.
No intervention is usually required with preschool-age children. However, older children may need temporary crowns or other methods, such as a night guard, to prevent the grinding.
WebMD Medical Reference
Reviewed by Darren R. Williams, DDS, on March 15, 2009
Last Editorial Review: 3/15/2009
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