While it’s that time of year to start worrying about a busted bracket, you shouldn’t be worried about busted teeth. In the rush of March Madness, make sure you take a few minutes to prevent the long-term effects of teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) so you can get back to cheering on your favorite team — with a big healthy smile.
Worried that you might be bruxing? Let’s take a look at the final four signs of long-term teeth grinding — and the full court press that could stop it.
1. Tooth damage
One of the surest signs of long-term teeth grinding is teeth that are worn down or chipped. Over time, clenching and grinding during the night can damage your enamel and actually wear your teeth down noticeably. It can also weaken your teeth, leading to more chips, cracks, or breaks. You may also notice increased sensitivity to cold, heat, or pain.
2. Sleep issues
If you’re suffering from bruxism, you may be disturbing your partner with the sounds of teeth grinding or snoring (for which bruxers have an increased likelihood to do). If your partner has noticed you grinding your teeth or if one or both of you has noticed more restless sleep, this could be an indication of bigger issues.
3. Neck and jaw pain
All that tension in your mouth can build up, creating pain in your jaw or even into your neck or shoulders. Regular teeth grinding can lead to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues, often called TMD (temporomandibular disorder). These can quickly become very serious long-term issues, so consider whether bruxism might be the culprit if you notice frequent or intense jaw pain.
The long-term effects of teeth grinding aren’t limited just to your mouth or to nighttime. If you frequently have headaches — especially soon after waking up in the mornings — it could indicate some tension or issues that are occurring during sleep. Keep track of how often (and when) your headaches occur. If they’re happening alongside one of these other symptoms, it could point to bruxism.
The best defense is a good offense, and health concerns are often no different. To fight the long-term effects of teeth grinding, consider a dental guard that can prevent you from grinding your teeth at night. While a guard like SleepRight’s line of over-the-counter dental products will keep you from clenching or grinding, it won’t get in the way of your sleep. You can even take a drink while wearing it! To learn more, visit www.sleepright.com.