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Many individuals grind their teeth sometimes. If teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism, only occurs occasionally, it usually does not harm the teeth. However, regular bruxism can damage the teeth and cause other dental health problems. Teeth grinding and clenching often occurs during sleep and can be caused by a misaligned bite, crooked or missing teeth, or a sleep disorder. Chronic teeth grinding can cause fractured, loosened, worn, or lost teeth.

As bruxism often occurs during sleep, most people do not know that they grind their teeth. If you wake with a dull headache or a sore jaw, you may be grinding your teeth at night.

Follow these tips to help prevent teeth grinding:

• Avoid or reduce ingesting foods and drinks that contain caffeine, like coffee, chocolate, and soda.
• Avoid alcohol ingestion.
• Do not chew on pencils, pens, and other non-food objects.
• If you grinding or clenching your teeth during the day, place the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This trains your jaw muscles to relax.
• Hold a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of the earlobe to relax your jaw muscles at night.

Talk to our dentist if you think that you have a teeth grinding problem. Your jaw can be examined for signs of bruxism, like wear on the teeth and jaw tenderness. If needed, our dentist can provide a custom-made night guard, a covering worn over the teeth to protect them from injury from teeth grinding. To learn more about bruxism and to schedule an appointment with our dentist, contact our office today.