What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a habit during which you grind your teeth or clench or thrust our jaw forward over and over again. This habit can affect your oral health. It can cause teeth to break or crack, and increase the chance of gum problems. Adults are not the only ones affected. Studies have found hat this can be a problem in children as young as preschool aged.
What causes it?
Researchers do not know for sure what causes people to do this. Some think stress could be a factor. In preschoolers, studies find an association between grinding their teeth or clenching their jaws and signs of stress or social withdrawal. Children may also develop this habit when they are losing their baby teeth and their permanent teeth are coming in. Nail biting may also lead to grinding of teeth or jaw clenching. Like many habits, you may be unaware that you do this. You may even do it in your sleep. Tobacco and alcohol use may increase your chances of doing this when you are sleeping. Large amounts of caffeine- for example, 8 or more cups of coffee a day- also can increase the risk. Some medications may also cause patients to clench or grind their teeth.
What can you do?
You should talk to Dr Oldfield if you notice any of the following:
A number of things can contribute to the problem of bruxism, and there has not been a lot of research on how best to treat it. Dr Oldfield will recommend quitting tobacco, limiting how much caffeine you consume, finding new ways to relax or relieve stress, or looking at your medications and evaluating your options.
In some cases, Dr Oldfield may recommend an oral appliance, which is a plastic tray that fits over either your top or bottom teeth. This appliance is usually worn at night. Use of an appliance may help reduce grinding and clenching, and may protect your teeth and gums.