If you are in that 50% of the population that grinds their teeth in their sleep, then mouth guards for teeth grinding could help you to avoid the wear and tear it exerts on your oral health. Let’s have a look at the benefits of mouth guards for grinding your teeth.
What Is Teeth Grinding And Why Do We Do It?
Known medically as bruxism, it is an involuntary (action that includes clenching the jaw and rubbing or grinding the teeth against each other. In most cases, the teeth grinding usually happens when you are asleep but can also occur when you are awake. Clenching your jaw can happen at any time of the day.
Interestingly, bruxism is classified as a parafunctional activity, which means you are using a body part in a manner that it wasn’t intended to be used. Other examples of parafunctional behaviours include biting your nails and biting the inside of your mouth.
Teeth grinding is a sleep-related movement disorder. There are a number of contributing factors for grinding your teeth. These include psychological factors like stress and personality traits, and other substances such as medication and drugs, alcohol and caffeine and smoking.
If So Many People Do It Why Does It Need To Be Treated?
Over extended periods of time, bruxism can cause damage and wear and tear to your teeth. When you grind your teeth together, you do it with a fair degree of force and, most grinders will do it for between two to four hours a night.
Many children grind too but because their jaws and teeth are still forming it does not cause as much damage as to adults. In fact up to 40% of children aged 11 are believed to grind their teeth in their sleep.
Some of the problems that teeth grinding can cause include cracked tooth enamel, tooth sensitivity, and broken teeth and fillings. Furthermore, teeth grinding can also cause pain in the jaw and its muscles as well as tension to the jaw joint.
Long term ‘bruxers’ as they are known might find that their enamel is completely worn away, exposing the dentin. Sometimes the back teeth are so worn down they appear flat and contour-less.
Teeth grinding can also contribute to the onset of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which is a chronic degenerative disease of the joints where the jaws open and close.
Losing tooth enamel makes you more susceptible to tooth decay and tooth loss.
How Can Mouth Guards For Teeth Grinding Help?
While there is known cure for bruxism just yet, wearing a mouth guard can help you manage the damage done through teeth grinding. While assessing the cause of your bruxism is important, it may not be that easy to resolve. If you wear a mouth guard, you can protect your oral cavity and jaws as much as possible while you try to work out how to address the root cause.
A mouth guard, night guard or occlusal splint, is the most effective way to manage the effects of grinding. You will wear your mouth guard while you sleep to manage damage.
Made from acrylic, mouth guards for grinding your teeth will take all the wear and tear of bruxism rather than you exerting it on your teeth. In order to be effective though, your mouth guard needs to be custom-built for the size and shape of your mouth and teeth.
There are also some lifestyle modifications that you can make, to try and figure out why you are grinding in the first place, but be prepared to be in it for the long haul.
Cutting out sugar, caffeine, alcohol, drugs and medications in the hours before sleep may be beneficial. Managing your stress levels and removing obvious stressors may help too.
Get yourself into a sleep routine whereby you ensure your environment is set up for a good night’s sleep (using a high quality pillow and mattress, heavy curtains and sound proofing the room).
Where To Get Mouth Guards For Grinding
Your dentist will take a cast of your mouth and create a mouth guard for your exact contours. It’s important to wear your mouth guard as directed and to follow your dentist’s hygiene instructions for keeping it clean and your teeth plaque-free.
To find out more about mouth guards for teeth grinding please make an appointment: 02 9051 0600.