Clenching Teeth Or Jaw? Use A Mouth Guard For Clenching
For about 1 out of 10 Americans, jaw clenching and teeth grinding are the coping methods for stress.
During waking hours, most people are aware that they’re doing it and can control it. Some of those people, however, carry this habit on in their sleep. Chronically clenching teeth or a clenching jaw can be bad habit, causing detrimental effects on dental health.
In the medical world, they call the this bruxism. It used to be thought that the cause of bruxing was a bad bite. Dentists would correct this by filing down the teeth themselves. Nowadays, the real primary cause is known to be symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Secondary causes are related to sleeping disturbances, certain medications and a misalignment of the jaw bone or teeth. Whatever the cause is, it should be addressed sooner rather than later to prevent the need for dreaded dental procedures, such as:
- Root canals
The most effective remedy for bruxism is a professionally fitted night mouth guard. Click here to find out more about using a custom fitted night guard to eliminate bruxism.
This happens more often during sleep. Most people are totally unaware that they clench and grind their teeth at night. That is, until they wake up with the suggestive sore jaw and a dull headache. Often, their partner informs them of the sounds of their nightly gnashing.
It goes without saying that consistent grinding will wear down the teeth to stubs. More than that, other consequent problems can arise, including:
- The enamel getting worn to the dentin, causing sensitive teeth
- Cracks and broken fillings
- Loose teeth and gums
- Tooth decay
- Nerve damage
Jaw clenching happens during the waking hours. It’s usually a stress response somewhere between fight and flight. The jaw muscles tense and clamp down on each other, exerting a pressure of up to 250 pounds.
A pressure of this kind can seriously impair the jaw muscles and bones after a while, causing the joint to degenerate. More problems are soon to follow, like:
- Pain, soreness and headaches
- Receding gums
- Gum pockets
- Hearing loss
Mouth Guard For Clenching
Mouth guards immediately prevent further damage to the teeth. They fit snug between the upper and lower sets of teeth to keep them from touching. Some of them work by re-directing the force of the jaw pressure. Others work simply by discouraging the bite at all.
It’s easy enough to find an urgent mouth guard for clenching at a pharmacy or health food store. The most common ones have a “boil and bite” method for molding to the individual’s teeth. These are usually soft and tend to get uncomfortable after longer periods of time. They are useful for immediate relief, however.
Molds that are created individually by professional dentists are the better bet for the long-term. They are custom-fitted, inconspicuous and can be worn day or night with comfort. They are often made of a hard acrylic. This discourages clenching and grinding at all, whereas a soft mouth guard might encourage it.
The best source for custom fitted mouth guards we’ve found is at ProTeethGuard.com. They provide the exact same professionally fitted custom mouth guards that eliminate teeth clenching and grinding at a fraction of the price charged by dentists.
You can find out more at their website here.
Tips for Quitting the Clench and Grind
Aside for the mouth guard, it is important to get to the source of all the grinding and clenching.
Stress – if this is the problem, reserve some time in the day for de-stressing activities, like exercise, reading or meditation.
Avoid stimulants – caffeine and nicotine, for instance, mimic the stress response in the body, causing tense muscles.
Retrain the jaw – don’t chew gum or the end of a pencil or straw. This is subconscious training that encourages the teeth and jaw clench involuntarily.