Teeth grinding is usually harmless in the short-term. However, long-term, bruxism can pose serious dangers to your health. If you are an offender of teeth grinding, it is in your best interest to stop the habit as quickly as possible.
Teeth grinding (henceforth referred to by its medical term, bruxism) is the habit of grinding one's teeth together. It is common in children, but may continue into adulthood. Even people who do not have bruxism may develop it as adults, with about 10% of the adult population being bruxers. Bruxism has several causes, including stress, drinking alcohol, smoking, doing drugs, and taking antidepressants or antipsychotic medication. Bruxism most often occurs during one's sleep, with enough force being applied by the grinding to crack a walnut.
Most of the time, bruxism is harmless - if not annoying. However, it can cause serious problems over the long run. The normal rate of enamel erosion is about 0.3 mm per decade. Therefore, a person in his or her mid-twenties should have just under one millimeter of enamel erosion. However, bruxers may experience up to two millimeters of enamel erosion in the same period!
Another problem that can occur as a result of bruxism is the wearing down of teeth far enough to require various dental procedures such as a root canal, an implant, a crown, or even dentures. While the teeth take the brunt of the force, the jaw is not left unaffected and people who suffer from chronic bruxism may develop temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which can cause tremendous joint pain. People who grind their teeth also may experience headaches, especially in the morning after bruxing while asleep.
With no actual cure, the only thing to do to prevent bruxism is to change your lifestyle or wear a mouth guard (especially at night).
Possible short-term side effects
Possible long-term side effects
- enamel erosion
- tooth chipping
- tooth wear and tear
- wearing a mouth guard
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Written by Jeff Volling | 12-27-2015
Written by Jeff Volling
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