I Think I Have Bruxism: Can a Mouth Guard Protect My Teeth?

Use a mouth guard for bruxism.

Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt like your mouth was stiff? Do you catch yourself clenching your jaw, especially when you are stressed? Does your jaw hurt, or perhaps you have noticed that your teeth have come sensitive when eating? If you’re answering yes to one, or more, of these questions, there is a good chance you have bruxism. And thankfully, there is an easy treatment.

What causes bruxism?

Bruxism is the more technical dental term for clenching and grinding of your teeth. While it tends to be less common as you get older, bruxism affects 15% of adolescents and 8% of middle-aged adults. And a wide variety of risk factors may make you more susceptible.

Doctors aren’t sure why some people grind their teeth. It might be because of a mix of body, mind, and family reasons. When you’re awake and grinding your teeth, it could be because you’re stressed, angry, or focused. If it happens while you’re asleep, it might be part of how your body acts when you’re not fully awake.

Here are some things that could make you more likely to grind your teeth:

  • Stress: Feeling stressed or anxious can cause you to grind your teeth, and so can feelings of anger or frustration.
  • Age: Bruxism is more common in kids and tends to get better as you get older.
  • Personality: If you’re a go-getter, competitive, or always on the move, you might grind your teeth more.
  • Medications and substances: Some medicines, especially ones for the mind, might cause grinding your teeth to be a side effect. Using tobacco, drinking coffee or alcohol, or using drugs can also play a role.
  • Family history: If your family members grind their teeth, you might too. It seems to run in families.
  • Other health issues: Grinding your teeth can also be linked to other health conditions like Parkinson’s disease, stomach acid problems, epilepsy, nightmares, problems with sleep, and ADHD.

A mouth guard can help protect your teeth from the harmful effects of bruxism.

When bruxism is left untreated, it can seriously damage your dental enamel. Unfortunately, our dental enamel can’t repair itself. When it’s gone, it’s gone. You may also experience other ramifications from ongoing clenching and grinding.

  • Earaches or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Headaches
  • Sore Jaw
  • Headaches or facial pain
  • Pain when eating
  • Challenges opening or closing your mouth

Thankfully, wearing a custom-fitted mouth guard from the best dentist in Dallas, Texas, can help. A mouth guard is a protective layer that stops your teeth from touching and grinding against each other. Though you might still move your mouth as if you were grinding, the guard prevents direct contact. This can save your teeth from wear and prevent the abovementioned issues.

While you can find mouth guards at local stores, a custom-fitted one from your dentist is the better option. Custom mouth guards are far more comfortable and effective because they are tailored just for you. Dr. Alhadef at Dallas Cosmetic Dental will make an impression of your teeth to create a perfectly fitting guard. 

Managing Your Bruxism

While wearing a mouth guard can indeed protect your teeth, it’s important to look at what is causing your bruxism in the first place. In many cases, you can make some simple lifestyle changes that can lower your stress level, help you feel better, and lessen your likelihood of clenching and grinding your teeth.

Here are some things to try:

  • Exercise: Exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. When you work out, you get those endorphins going, which is good for your body. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes, three or four days per week.
  • Mediate: We get it; life can be stressful. And we’re all faced with so many competing priorities that managing it all can be hard. But, find the time for some self-care each day. At a minimum, try to get at least five minutes for dedicated meditation, and work up to 45 minutes if possible. Doing so will help you relax, slow your breathing, and help boost your mood.
  • Modify your diet: Take a moment to assess your diet and the foods you put into your body. Processed meats, high-sugar foods, caffeine, and alcohol in particular, can be more harmful than you might realize. Replace these choices with more lean proteins and green, leafy vegetables. Also, ensure you are getting enough dairy, which is great for your dental enamel.

Do you have bruxism? Get a custom mouth guard from Dallas Cosmetic Dental.

If you are clenching and grinding your teeth, especially at night while at sleep, it’s time to get a custom mouth guard. It will help protect your teeth (you only get one permanent set) and lessen your risk of headaches, jaw pain, neck pain, and more.

Request an appointment with Dr. Alhadef today to explore what restorative dentistry can do for you.