Teeth grinding is an unfortunate habit to have. People don't typically consciously grind their teeth, but all the same, it can result in irreversible damage to your teeth. If you grind your teeth and want to reduce the risk of damage to your teeth, try doing these three things.
One of the most common causes of people grinding their teeth is stress. Stress can make your entire body tense up, which is part of the reason why it can lead to muscle aches and the like. Unfortunately, that tenseness can extend to the muscles controlling your jaw, and you can end up clamping down your teeth before you even realize it.
Taking care of your stress may help you to grind your teeth less or to stop completely. Consider doing something that you enjoy to relieve your stress, like taking a soak in a tub, meditating, or even singing or dancing.
Jaw and neck massages are good ways of reducing the amount of times that you grind your teeth. It serves a similar purpose to reducing your stress.
With massages, you're helping to loosen up the muscles responsible for your jaw and letting them go slack again. Of course, you don't have to stop at the jaw and neck. An all-over massage may be helpful in not only reducing tension in your neck and jaw, but it can also serve to reduce your stress level. Consider learning how to perform a massage of the temporomandibular joints — the joints that serve as a hinge for your jaw — to really loosen things up.
Lastly, the best thing you can do to protect your teeth is to stop the damage from grinding completely with a grinding guard.
Grinding guards typically look a lot like invisible braces or retainers. They're designed to keep your upper and lower teeth separated so that they can't grind and rub against each other anymore. This ensures that even if your teeth are clamped down that they won't be hurting each other.
Grinding guards are best picked up from your dentist's office. Store-bought grinding guards often don't fit well and can be discouraging to use. By choosing one from your dentist, you'll ensure that you have a custom fit that will slip on perfectly every time, reducing discomfort and ensuring that the guard doesn't slip off.
Teeth grinding is a serious problem that should be treated like one. If you're tired of the headaches, jaw pain, and neck stiffness that teeth grinding can cause — and also don't want your teeth to suffer — talk to a dentist about getting a grinding guard.