Health

Teeth grinding: Why do you do it? How to ease the pressure placed on the teeth

With stress and anxiety at an all time high for many, a condition known as teeth grinding may occur. Nurse Vanessa Charest from London Real Skin spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to discuss teeth grinding and how one can relieve the condition.

“Teeth grinding, otherwise known as Bruxism, is a result of people clenching their jaw and grinding their teeth, either subconsciously during the day, or at night whilst asleep,” said nurse Charest.

She continued: “Symptoms include facial pain and headaches, earache and stiffness in the jaw.

“With time, the force of the grinding can affect the teeth enamel.”

When asked why some people are more susceptible to teeth grinding than others, nurse Charest replied: “Teeth grinding is said to often have a direct link to stress and anxiety and with sleep disorders, but the exact cause of it remains unclear.

“Other factors that can likely contribute to teeth grinding include lifestyle factors such as caffeinated drinks, alcohol and smoking and certain medications.”

In terms of the damage caused by teeth grinding, nurse Charest warned: “With symptoms such as stiffness in the jaw joints, it can lead to Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) which is a condition that affects jaw movement and can feel something like a ‘lock jaw’.

“It can also wear down the teeth with time, and potentially damage any fillings in the mouth.”

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Symptoms of teeth grinding include:

Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or looseWorn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your toothIncreased tooth pain or sensitivityTired or tight jaw muscles, or a locked jaw that won’t open or close completelyJaw, neck or face pain or sorenessPain that feels like an earache, though it’s actually not a problem with your earDull headache starting in the templesDamage from chewing on the inside of your cheekSleep disruption

To help reduce teeth grinding, nurse Charest advises: “Mouth guards are usually recommended and created by dentists who fit the guard to the patient’s teeth, to restrict the movement and prevent the teeth grinding from happening.

“This will also protect the teeth. It also suggested to engage in activities that would help reduce stress and anxiety such as yoga, deep breathing and having a relaxing massage.

“At London Real Skin, we offer a highly effective and safe treatment for teeth grinding with the use of prescribed antiwrinkle injections that is injected into the muscle to temporarily relax the muscle.

“This will significantly reduce the jaw clenching and teeth grinding movement and prevent possible dental damage.

“Patients have advised that this provides huge relief as it can affect one’s quality of life.”

If the underlying cause of your teeth grinding is stress or anxiety, psychological treatments, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), may help.

If your teeth grinding is stress-related, it’s important to try to relax and get a good night’s sleep.

There are a number of things you can try to help you wind down before you go to bed, including:

YogaDeep breathingMassageReadingHaving a bathListening to music

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