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Many people grind their teeth at some point during their lives. If this only happens occasionally, it’s unlikely to cause long lasting damage and most likely will go unnoticed. However, for some people teeth grinding is far from an occasional occurrence; rather, it is a daily habit that can have potential negative consequences on overall health and well-being.
Let's take a look at what teeth grinding is, whether it is a condition you are suffering from, and how dental grind guards really can be a teeth grinding lifesaver.
What is Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)?
Known in the medical world as 'bruxism', teeth grinding is the unconscious act of clenching or grinding of the jaw and often occurs during sleep, although some people will grind their teeth during the day. Because in some cases it is done unconsciously, this means that a person may be suffering from the effects of bruxism, without any idea of how much damage they can be doing to their teeth.
What Causes Bruxism?
While the exact cause of bruxism is not known, most medical experts agree that stress is a trigger. Other potential contributors may include smoking, caffeine intake, fatigue and genetics. For many people, the obvious symptoms, like tired jaw muscles and tooth sensitivity, tend to be the first indicators of bruxism.
What are the Main Symptoms of Bruxism?
When left untreated, bruxism can result in painful health issues. Some other primary symptoms of bruxism can include migraines, TMJ headaches, neck and jaw pain, tinnitus, and earaches.
Other Symptoms of Bruxism
However, symptoms of bruxism can vary widely, affecting individuals differently, and other symptoms can include:
- Headaches in the forehead, temples, or sinus area
- Pain behind eyes, or sensitivity to sunlight
- Abrasions on the inner sides of cheeks from biting and chewing during bruxism
- Jaw pain, like clicking or popping jaw joints
- Neck pain that continues down into shoulder or backaches
- Loose or sore back teeth
- Sore throat with no infection
Of course, the list above is by no means exhaustive; people suffering from bruxism can experience a wide range or a combination of these issues. In addition to noticing symptoms, teeth grinding can also be identified by sound, meaning it is quite possible that you or your sleep partner has been awakened by the sound of teeth grinding.
How Does Bruxism Affect People?
One of the most obvious problems created by regular teeth grinding is pain and subsequent tooth damage. Chronic teeth grinders can wear their teeth down to stumps. Loose teeth, micro-cracks, fractures, and even tooth loss are all real consequences for people with extreme cases of chronic bruxism. Once you’ve reached this stage, you’re facing painful, timely and expensive dental procedures such as root canals, implants, bridges, or dentures.
Far-Reaching Effects of Bruxism are preventable
Since such significant damage doesn’t happen overnight, the effects of bruxism are gradual, painful and can also negatively affect your health and appearance. These include hypersensitivity, meaning teeth will hurt to the touch, making it painful to eat, drink or even brush teeth. Because clenching puts pressure on the teeth to move down towards the roots, the gums recede, causing pockets to form which harbor bacteria and food particles. This can potentially lead to periodontal disease and infections. In addition, once enamel wears down from grinding, which may result in dentin exposure. As a result, your teeth are even more susceptible to increased bacterial plaque, which can lead to tooth abscess and infection, and inflammation in the pulp of the tooth.
It is important to address teeth grinding issues as soon as possible, to mitigate any potential impact on your oral health, and prevent future issues. However, it isn't just oral health that can be affected by bruxism. Since symptoms can also include headaches, jaw pain and fatigue it can have a significant impact on overall health and wellbeing. Not feeling your best can cause stress and anxiety, which can lead to a vicious cycle of more teeth grinding, worry, and anxiety.
Steps You Can Take to Help Reduce Teeth Grinding
While symptoms of bruxism can be far reaching and debilitating, there is some good news. It is not all doom and gloom, there are some simple steps which can make a difference to a person suffering from bruxism to help reduce these negative effects. The key is being proactive to identify the symptoms, and then take preventative steps to prevent recurrence.
Don't Encourage Your Jaw to Clench
You can actually be guilty of coaxing your jaw into a clenching position. How? If you have a habit of chewing pens, pencils or chewing gum during the day as a way to alleviate stress, you may be getting your jaw muscles used to the 'art' of clenching. Did you know, for example, chewing gum in excess of two hours per day encourages jaw muscles to clench, and may increase your chances of grinding your teeth when you are not chewing? Unfortunately, your jaw may decide to repeat the action while you are sleeping.
Wear a Dental Grind Guard
Wearing a dental grind guard can be the single, most effective treatment in providing relief from the symptoms of bruxism. A dental grind guard provides a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, thus protecting the tooth enamel from rubbing together, preventing the negative effects of bruxism. Dental grind guards are removable and generally worn only when needed (i.e., at night or while sleeping).
Find Relief from Headaches/TMJ Pain
A dental grind guard can also help alleviate headaches and associated TMJ pain that can be attributed to bruxism. Some headaches can feel downright debilitating, and if wearing a dental grind guard could help mitigate painful headaches, wouldn’t you take steps to easily prevent its recurrence?
The temporomandibular joints are flexible joints found on each side your head in front of your ear. Responsible for all of your jaw movements, which includes eating and talking, they are the most active joints in the body and endure a lot of wear and tear. They connect your lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull, and excessive clenching and grinding puts an incredible amount of pressure on the joints. Chronic bruxing can result in severe headaches, pain and discomfort in the face, jaw joint, neck and shoulders while at rest, or during common movements such as talking, chewing and yawning.
Ora-GUARD®, the latest innovation in dental grind guards
While there are many dental grind guards currently on the market, Ora-GUARD® is a new dental grind unlike any other available with unique features that include:
With the Ora-GUARD® dental grind guard, an easy, individualized custom-like fit is achieved at home with a simple 60 second microwave or a boil and bite fitting process.
Stays Secure While Worn
Dealing with a dental grind guard that does not stay securely in place while wearing is not only uncomfortable but potentially unsafe. Some products, due to their design, may not stay in place and you may wake up the next morning with it on your pillow. Ora-GUARD’s revolutionary lower jaw design with flexible labial strap and molar gripping “T” bars, combined with the medical grade, soft fit material, fits securely in the mouth for maximum effectiveness.
FDA cleared, Ora-GUARD® is small enough to fit comfortably on your lower teeth. The smaller size offers a comfortable “fit-tight” design, with no bulk. This allows you to easily talk and breathe while wearing the Ora-GUARD®, day or night. Less bulk means a more comfortable product when worn as indicated.
Unique Patented Design
Ora-GUARD® is a different type of dental grind guard. What sets it apart is its patented design—it starts by combining a soft, medical grade fit material for absorbing jaw clenching tension plus a hard surface bite plate wedge design. This bite plate wedge design allows your teeth and jaws to slide naturally forward, protecting your teeth from the damaging effects of grinding and clenching, while at the same time releases tension on the TMJ muscle. The new, patented Ora-GUARD® dental grind guard is designed as an effective and immediate over-the-counter treatment to minimize the tooth damage and pain associated with the symptoms of bruxism.
No Other Dental Grind Guard Compares
Ora GUARD® is an effective and economical over-the-counter treatment for bruxism developed by Bite Tech, a leading innovator of oral health products. Bite Tech Inc. holds more than 45 patents and pending patents for its innovative, proprietary designs and technologies. Ora-GUARD® is available at key retailers throughout North America and available online at Ora-GUARD.com