Dentists Reveal How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth (Without Using a Mouth Guard)

(CLAIRE HANNUM, GREATIST) Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is startlingly common: Some metrics estimate that this repetitive, involuntary movement, a clenching of the jaw muscles, can affect up to 16 percent of the population. Some people grind their teeth during the day, but many do so in their sleep—often without even realizing it’s happening.

While there are different medical explanations as to why bruxism happens, and each case is different, most experts trace the majority of their clients’ cases back to either a bite imbalance or stress.

“Grinding one’s teeth is a way your body is coping with stress,” says Kruti Patel, D.M.D. “It releases an endorphin in your brain, which makes your brain feel good, and you continue to grind.”

How bad is grinding your teeth, really?

Since teeth grinding is so common, it’s easy to assume that it’s nothing more than a minor annoyance. Sure, there are those wild cases of people forced into dentures at 50, you might tell yourself, but for most people, it doesn’t really matter, right? Well, kind of. The extreme cases are rare, but according to the experts, grinding on a regular basis is definitely not ideal.

Extreme cases are called “extreme” for a reason—they don’t happen to everyone. If you only grind your teeth occasionally, you may never develop any dental issues from it. Even regular grinders aren’t necessarily doomed to early dentures, but consistent grinding over time can lead to pretty intense dental wear and tear.

You could experience tooth cracking, bone loss around the roots of your teeth, and sometimes even loss of the teeth themselves. “Excessive force on your teeth can cause cracks in your teeth,” Patel says. “Depending on the crack, you may need anywhere from a filling to an extraction.” Read the full story at GREATIST. IMAGE: Youtube