A Solution for Your Teeth
You may not be familiar with the term “bruxism,” but you’re undoubtedly familiar with the behavior. Bruxism is the grinding, gnashing, or clenching of teeth. Many of us do it without even realizing; in fact, a lot of people do it in their sleep, which is called sleep bruxism.
Regardless of whether you know the name, it’s important to understand the consequences of bruxism and how it can impact your dental health. Bruxers are found everywhere from Phoenix, AZ to Fairfax, VA, and while there’s no real cure, there are ways of preventing teeth grinding.
Read on to learn more about this condition and how you can lessen and treat bruxism.
Bruxism is a broad term used to encompass a number of behaviors, including:
- Gnashing of teeth
- Grinding of teeth
- Clenching of teeth
- Gritting of teeth
- Any of these behaviors during sleep
Teeth grinding causes may include anything from high stress to abnormal bite to crooked teeth. If bruxism sounds serious, consider this: The masseter, the cheek muscle that helps us chew, is one of the strongest muscles in the entire body. Dental researchers say it can exert up to 600 pounds of force per square inch on the molars in the rear of our mouths. It’s a strong muscle and can have a big impact on jaw and mouth health.
How Many People Have Bruxism?
Bruxism is a very common condition, though there’s some disagreement on how many people are bruxers.
One in three people suffer from bruxism, according to one study, but another puts the number much lower at around eight percent of the population. The condition can range in severity from infrequent clenching to outright mashing; a small number of people, roughly 10 percent of bruxism sufferers, grind so hard their teeth are reduced to nubs, and they eventually need to have reconstructive surgery.
Bruxism can wax and wane over a lifetime. While an estimated 15 percent of kids grind their teeth, that number dips to just three percent when referring to the elderly. Bruxism is occasionally a complication of another condition. A handful of medications, such as certain anti-anxiety pills, for instance, have side effects that include jaw clenching or teeth gnashing.
Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?
There’s no doubt that there can be harmful effects of teeth grinding. Here’s a look at the potential consequences:
Teeth Grinding Effects
Teeth grinding effects can range from mild annoyances to serious problems that require a dental professional’s attention. The big concern among dentists is bruxism’s cumulative effect: It’s not one day of clenching or gnashing that’s the problem, it’s the years of this behavior that wear down your teeth, sparking the need for serious dental treatment.