teeth grinding (2)

8 Ways Teeth Grinding Affects Your Health

Teeth grinding may lead to numerous health consequences. Some of these issues are short-term, but often many patients face more serious long-term problems, which may eventually become permanent. If you neglect to treat short-term issues timely, they may cause more painful and severe consequences. That’s why it's crucial to consult a doctor at first signs of teeth grinding. Not only to avoid enamel erosion and tooth loss, but also to prevent changes to your facial appearance.

Here are some of the most common long-term effects of teeth grinding:

1. Damaged Teeth
Most people subjected to long-term teeth grinding actually have flattened teeth with an even, square appearance. Grinding wears the occlusal surfaces of your teeth enamel, leading to worn down and shortened teeth. The more grinding is left untreated, the more severe these consequences get. Grinding your teeth can also damage dental work including fillings and crowns, causing them to fail and needing replacement. 

2. Changed facial appearance
Many patients find that long-term teeth grinding leads to hypertrophy of masseter's musculature, causing their jaw to bulk up and take on a masculine appearance. The swollen and square jaw is a highly unwanted side-effect in many female patients. Masseter reduction with Botox can help narrow the jawline leading to a more feminine appearance. Plus, masseter muscle reduction can make your face look thinner.

3. Sensitive teeth
Grinding permanently wears down the protective layer of your teeth. Enamel erosion makes the inner layer of your teeth exposed to dangerous oral bacteria, food acids, and dental plaque, leading to cavities. These small holes and openings in your enamel cause cold and hot temperatures to get to the nerves in your teeth, making some foods and beverages uncomfortable at best and painful at worst. 

4. Headaches and jaw pains 
Grinding in your sleep typically lasts for 49 minutes to an hour, and produces more than 250 pounds of force per square inch. This amount of pressure is enough to crack a nut. That’s why excessive use of jaw muscles leads to discomfort, pain, and headaches.  

5. Receding gums 
Teeth grinding is one of the major culprits of gum recession for various reasons. Grinding puts lots of pressure on your gums and causes them to pull away from your teeth and form pockets. Gum pockets accumulate dangerous oral bacteria and food residue, leading to periodontal disease. This serious gum infection decreases the amount of tissue that supports your teeth and leads to loss of volume and density in the underlying bone. 

6. Tooth loss
In severe cases of teeth grinding, your teeth can start detaching from the jaw. In addition to the weakening of the tooth itself, this can put you at increased risk of pushing one of your teeth out of its socket. 

7. Speech problems
Teeth grinding can result in different speech problems like difficulty in pronouncing sounds, slurring, poor speech clarity, and distortion in the speaking pattern. These problems occur due to malocclusion of the teeth caused by teeth grinding. 

8. Digestive problems
Enamel erosion leads to the exposure of the dentin and roots of your teeth, creating serious problems with chewing. Poorly chewed food leads to the build-up of stomach acid in the body, causing problems like heartburn, acid reflux, and dyspepsia. 

The bottom line
If you constantly grind your teeth at night or/and during the day, consider contacting a specialist to prevent numerous problems with your teeth, facial appearance, speech, and digestion. Remember that most of the problems caused by grinding your teeth are permanent and require costly and extensive treatment. So it’s best to prevent them in time, to avoid unnecessary complications. 

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Teeth Grinding : Are You Harming Your Teeth?



Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can be defined as the grinding of teeth for non-functional purposes. Bruxism is the habitual grinding of teeth when an individual is not chewing or swallowing.

· Daytime: Teeth grinding during daytime is called diurnal bruxism or bruxomania. It can be conscious or subconscious and may be associated with other habits like tongue-thrusting, nail-biting, etc.
· Nighttime bruxism: Nighttime teeth grinding is also called nocturnal bruxism. It is the subconscious grinding of teeth characterized by rhythmic patterns of facial muscles.

As bruxism or teeth grinding often occurs during sleep, individuals are mostly unaware of their habit.

Possible causes
· It can be caused due to underlying psychological or emotional stress. A tendency to grind the teeth has been often associated with the feeling of anger, aggression, over-enthusiasm, or anxiety.
· Teeth grinding or bruxism can be a manifestation of lesions in the central nervous system.
· Occlusal discrepancies or teeth interferences.
· Genetic.
· Systemic factors: magnesium deficiency, chronic abdominal distress, intestinal parasites, etc.
· Periodontal pain or pain in gums and tooth-supporting structures may also trigger teeth grinding or bruxism in some individuals.
· Other factors: an over-enthusiastic student and compulsive overachievers may also develop the habit of bruxism or teeth grinding.


Effects of bruxism on your teeth
The effects of bruxism or teeth grinding on your teeth depend on the frequency, intensity, and to some extent, the age of the patient. The forces of bruxism are transmitted to the muscular apparatus which is involved in chewing food.

· Trauma to your teeth: this includes tooth mobility, toothache mainly in the morning.
· Trauma to your tooth structure: extreme sensitivity due to loss of enamel, atypical wear facets, vital tissue or pulp may get exposed, and multiple teeth fractures can be caused.
· Muscular: pain and tenderness of jaw muscles, muscular fatigue on waking up in the morning, inflamed facial muscles can also be observed in individuals who experience teeth grinding.
· Joint pain: Joint pain around the ears, clicking on opening or closing the mouth, restricted jaw movements are often seen in individuals with bruxism.
· Referred pain or headache can also be observed in such individuals.

History and clinical examination in most cases is sufficient to diagnose bruxism or teeth grinding. Teeth prematurity can be diagnosed with biting or chewing strips. Electro myographic examination is a process to record over-activity or hyperactivity of muscles involved in teeth grinding.


· Many cases of teeth grinding are associated with emotional and psychological disturbances. Thus, appropriate psychological counseling by a psychiatrist can be initiated.
· Hypnosis, relaxing exercises, and massage can help in relieving muscle tension.
· Teeth prematurity should be adjusted and eliminated.
· Nightguards or other teeth splints that cover the chewing surface of teeth help in eliminating occlusal interference, prevent teeth wear and break the habit of bruxism.
· Physiotherapy has shown some promising results in treating teeth grinding.
· Drugs: local anesthetic injection, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants are often used in combination with other treatments to correct bruxism.
· Acupuncture therapy
· Orthodontic correction of teeth can be advocated to correct misaligned teeth.
· Electrical method: electro galvanic stimulation for muscle relaxation.

If you suspect you are having the above signs and symptoms consult your dentist today and get your teeth checked. Your dentist will examine your teeth and mouth to look for signs and symptoms of bruxism. However, early morning pain around your ears, jaws, and constant dull headache on the side of the head may be the first indicating symptom of teeth grinding. Many times, individuals get informed about this habit by their loved ones who notice teeth grinding at night. Teeth grinding is not only seen in adults it is also seen in children. Bruxism in children is often noticed when their deciduous teeth emerge, and the period when their deciduous teeth are replaced by permanent teeth. No treatment is generally required for preschool children as this habit gets corrected by itself however in severe cases mouth guards or splints can be considered.

If your habit of bruxism or teeth grinding is related to some other underlying cause like a sleep disorder, central nervous system abnormalities, etc your dentist may refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

 Article Source:- https://houston-texas-dentist.blogspot.com/

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