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Are You Grinding Your Teeth? Here’s What You Need To Know And How To Stop

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, discusses what tooth grinding is, how to recognise it, and what you can do to stop it.

What Is Tooth Grinding?

Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, is the clenching and grinding of teeth, usually during sleep. It is a common condition that affects people of all ages. According to the American Sleep Association, about 10% of adults and 15% of children grind their teeth.

Tooth grinding can occur in varying degrees of severity. Some people may grind their teeth occasionally or respond to specific triggers, while others may do so regularly or subconsciously, even while they sleep.

The severity of tooth grinding can also depend on the individual’s age, stress levels, and overall health. Mild tooth-grinding cases may not cause noticeable symptoms, while moderate to severe cases can lead to oral and health complications.

“When you grind your teeth, you put excessive pressure on them, which can cause several problems,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“It can wear down the enamel, making the teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay. In severe cases, it can also cause the teeth to crack or fracture, which may require extensive dental work, such as crowns or root canals. Tooth grinding can also cause jaw pain and headaches, making it difficult to eat or speak. Over time, it can also lead to the development of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which affects the joints that connect the jawbone to the skull.”

It is important to note that tooth grinding can be a subconscious habit, and some people may not know they are doing it.

Therefore, it is essential to visit a dental professional if you suspect that you may be grinding your teeth, regardless of the severity, to determine the appropriate course of treatment and prevent further damage.

How To Recognise Tooth Grinding

Some signs can indicate that you have bruxism. These include:

·        Worn, chipped, or cracked teeth

·        Tooth sensitivity

·        Jaw pain or soreness

·        Headaches

·        Earaches

·        Tired or tight jaw muscles in the morning

·        A clicking or popping sound when opening or closing your mouth

How To Stop Tooth Grinding

There are various ways to prevent and treat bruxism. Here are some tips:

Reduce stress: Stress and anxiety are often the leading causes of tooth grinding. Learning relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress levels and prevent bruxism.

Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can worsen tooth grinding. It is essential to get enough restful sleep every night.

Wear a mouthguard: A mouthguard is a plastic device that covers your teeth, protecting them

from grinding. It can be custom-made by your dentist or bought over the counter.

Correct your bite: If an abnormal bite causes bruxism, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to correct it.

Treat underlying medical conditions: In some cases, tooth grinding may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as sleep apnea. Treating the underlying medical condition can often alleviate bruxism.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health insurance provider, offering you a range of options, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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