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The Side Effects of Bruxism And How to Stop Them

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Do you often find yourself grinding your teeth uncontrollably, which later causes pain in the jaw, tooth sensitivity, or even headaches? Then, you may suffer from bruxism, a common dental issue that affects a notable part of the population. 

Most people think bruxism poses little to no harm to their health, but the consequences of this habit can cause more damage than just dental discomfort. The professionals at Uptown Pharmacy provided us with a detailed description of this condition and valuable tips regarding ways to overcome this unpleasant habit and cure the impact it has left on your health.

Understanding this condition: What is bruxism?

Before we go into the many side effects of this dental issue, let’s try to understand what this condition entails. Bruxism is the uncontrolled grinding and clenching of teeth, which mostly happens during sleep but not exclusively. It can also happen when you are awake due to anxiety, stress, or certain medications. It’s crucial to recognise this issue in its early stages, as it can go unnoticed for long periods, causing severe side effects. 

Effects of bruxism on your dental health

Bruxism affects dental structure and, therefore, oral health, causing several side effects. The most prominent ones are tooth wear and erosion. Constant grinding causes increased pressure on the teeth, which leads to the slow wear down of the outer layer of your teeth or enamel. That usually causes distorted teeth, most commonly chipped or flattened, affecting not just smile appearance but also proper function. 

Bruxism leads to the domino effect of dental health problems, as rushed enamel thinning causes teeth to be sensitive to temperatures and chewing. When teeth sensitivity increases, it induces discomfort, making some regular tasks like drinking and eating much less enjoyable.

If you previously had some dental interventions, like dental implants, crowns, or bridges, teeth grinding can cause a faster end-of-lifespan, requiring premature replacements. That can negatively impact both your dental health and your finances.

Side effects of bruxism on your overall health

Bruxism can also affect your jaw, manifesting as soreness and sharp pain in the jaw joint. If the teeth-grinding habit continues for an extended period, it can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMD. TMD negatively impacts jaw movements and can be pretty painful.

Other unpleasant side effects of teeth grinding are earaches and headaches. The ongoing pressure your facial muscles are exposed to can lead to tension, causing headaches and uncomfortable ear pain. These can represent a significant problem in your everyday functionality, negatively impacting your quality of life.

How bruxism can impact your lifestyle

The adverse effects of bruxism don’t just affect dental health; unfortunately, they reach beyond oral cavities. This condition can have broad implications for overall well-being, making it vital to keep it under control. 

One of the first side effects that can manifest is disturbed sleep. Teeth grinding can cause irregular sleeping patterns, leading to insomnia and restless nights. 

The uncontrollable nature of bruxism almost always leads to stress, as it limits your free will. But stress and anxiety can cause teeth grinding, too, so it is crucial to manage your stress levels if you suffer from bruxism and prevent it from developing. This issue can badly impact your productivity and mental health, in the worst cases, leading to depression.

How to prevent or heal tooth grinding?

Fortunately, there are many preventive measures to overcome this unpleasant dental issue. One popular solution is nightguards. They are custom-made protectors that prevent teeth from grinding overnight, reducing the risk of oral damage. 

Stress is one of the leading causes of bruxism. Stress management is one of the crucial steps you need to take to overcome this dental condition. You can channel your stress through various methods, like therapy, meditation, yoga, or whatever makes you comfortable and relaxed.

Regular dental check-ups can assist you in identifying the signs of this issue early and prevent them from progressing further. In some cases, the dentist may prescribe you some medication to numb the pain or manage the causes of bruxism.

Final thoughts

Bruxism is a common dental issue that can have a domino effect on dental and overall health problems if left untreated. The consequences of teeth grinding can lead to many overall health problems, ranging from increased teeth sensitivity to disturbed sleeping patterns and anxiety. Recognising the early symptoms and reacting adequately to reduce and prevent severe side effects is essential. If you stop it from progressing, you can significantly protect your dental health and preserve your well-being.

Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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