Have you been waking up for years with a sore jaw and you write it off as getting older or simply deal with it? Are there consistent headaches plaguing your mornings, making it difficult to start your day without pain? These issues (and many others) could be caused by bruxism or grinding and clenching your teeth while you sleep. Your dentist in Sparks can reassure you that teeth grinding is more common than you might think. While it’s normal to occasionally clench and grind your teeth, chronic sleep bruxism can negatively affect your oral and overall health if left untreated.
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth While Sleeping?
According to the Sleep Foundation, nocturnal teeth grinding still isn’t entirely understood, even with the advanced technology and treatments available in dental and regular medicine today. However, many contributing factors can lead to nighttime grinding that can include:
- Increased daytime stress
- Anxiety and depression
- Frustration and anger
- Caffeine or alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
You’ll want to discuss what medications you’re taking with your dentist in Sparks. Certain pills, such as antidepressants, can lead to teeth grinding.
How Does Teeth Grinding Impact My Health?
Forget about the constant disruptions to your sleep cycle that are keeping you from getting the rest you need; bruxism can be bad for your teeth and cause severe pain. When you chronically grind your teeth, it wears down your enamel. When you lose your precious tooth enamel this can result in:
- Increased sensitivity
- Deterioration and decay
- Chips or breaks
What’s worse, your grinding and clenching can also cause issues with your temporomandibular joint or TMJ joining resulting in pain and loss of functionality.
How to Treat Nighttime Teeth Grinding
Your dentist in Sparks will take the first step in helping you find relief from your bruxism by trying to determine the underlying cause of it. Is it stress or anxiety that’s causing your grinding? Is it another condition called sleep apnea contributing to your issue? If you or someone in your family has constant or persistent pain in your mouth, neck, and jaw from grinding, it’s time to talk with us. You’re experiencing this discomfort because you probably don’t even realize you’re grinding your teeth while you’re sleeping. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your teeth, with up to 250 pounds of force, leading to headaches and so much more.
Grinding your teeth is not 100 percent curable, but there are ways to:
- Reduce how often it’s happening
- Decrease the amount of impact it has
- Relieve your stress and symptoms
It’s important to speak with a professional about sleep bruxism and teeth grinding because we can also identify if it’s connected to other conditions like sleep apnea or acid reflux. We’ll find answers to your questions and figure out what solution will be best for you. You might benefit from a custom-fitted nightguard that will help to protect your smile from further damage while you work on a treatment plan.
Are you ready to get help? Contact us today to schedule a consultation so we can address your questions and help you heal.
Summer in Sparks is a fun, carefree time for everyone, with all of the exciting events and activities available every day. This time of year, it can be easy to take a break from our regular routines, which is part of what makes a summer vacation so necessary. Breaking free from our day-to-day creates time to get some much-needed relaxation. However, don’t let your oral or overall health struggle by putting off your regular care. Let’s do our best to keep your smile bright and functional this summer!
Don’t Forget to Take Your Toothbrush
Are you traveling this summer for a luxurious vacation? Whether you’re headed out on a road trip, camping outdoors, or staying with friends and family, there’s one vital thing you don’t want to miss when you’re packing, and that’s your toothbrush. No matter where you are in the world, you’ll still want to take time to brush your teeth two or three times a day while also flossing at least once. There are so many stores that offer travel-sized toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste; they make it easier to throw them in your suitcase or backpack and go!
Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools
We always want to remind our patients that their teeth are strong, but they’re not strong enough to be used as tools. You can end up with a tooth that’s chipped or broken because you tried to use it to open a bottle, wrapper, chip bag, etc. (you know what we mean.) Your Sparks dentist knows how easy it is to rip open that annoying plastic with your teeth quickly, but it could come with unexpected or unwanted consequences.
Don’t Go Overboard With Sugar
While summer is a fun time to indulge, especially when you’re on vacation, it’s important to fill your body with good foods to support optimal oral and overall health. Some foods actually help clean your teeth naturally and can be a good choice for summer snacking, such as:
Foods like these are often referred to as “nature’s toothbrushes.” They are also full of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function correctly. There’s no substitute for a real brushing, though, so don’t forget to use your toothbrush and toothpaste whenever and wherever possible.
Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen
One place people tend to forget to cover is their lips. Always apply a lip balm with a sun protection factor or SPF of at least 15. This is essential because your lips are very sensitive and susceptible to getting sunburnt, just like the rest of your body. Don’t forget to wear plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated with water when outside this summer.
As your dentist in Sparks, we want you to know that we hope you and your family can take some time for a vacation this summer. Enjoy every minute of what the season has to offer. If you need to schedule a cleaning or have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, and we’ll talk.