Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

Oral Health Tips: 3 Ways to Prevent Habitual Teeth Clenching and Grinding

by Brett Clark

Teeth clenching and grinding are common habits among both adults and kids. Most people who clench their teeth don't even realize they are doing it, yet it is a bad habit that can significantly deteriorate oral health. Excessive clenching can cause TMJ disorder, a condition that characterized by limited jaw movement, pain and soreness, tension headaches and muscle spasms. On the other hand, teeth grinding wears out the enamel, and it can cause gum recession, cracked teeth, sensitivity and severe damage to the oral bone structure. If you clench and grind your teeth, it is essential that you follow these tips to manage the habit and prevent other dental problems.

Manage the underlying cause

People who clench and grind their teeth do so for particular reasons. Some of the most common reasons are stress and anxiety. If you pay attention to your body, you will notice that every time you are stressed, anxious or thinking hard, the whole body is tense, the jaw is tight and the teeth are tightly clasped together. It is essential to be aware of this tension and find ways to avoid it.

Working out, taking a vacation, meditating and writing in your journal are great ways of relieving stress. If these don't work, solve the problem that is causing you anxiety. Always remain aware of the implications of stress on your dental health and be proactive about restoring overall wellness.

Relax the jaw

Creating time out of your routine schedule to relax your jaw muscles is an excellent way of preventing teeth clenching. If you develop a habit of unclenching the teeth, the body will tune into this new habit even when you are under pressure. So, set aside some few minutes every day to actively relax the jaw muscles. If possible, you can also gently massage the jaw to ease pain and soreness or apply a hot compress. Avoid habits such as chewing gum that cause tension in the jaw and aggravate the pain.

Seek professional assistance

If you are unable to stop this habit of teeth clenching and grinding, you should visit a dentist for professional help. This is particularly useful if you grind your teeth in your sleep. The dentist will give you a custom mouth guard that you can wear at night or when under stress and pressure. After prolonged use of the oral device, you will get the problem under control.

Constant grinding and clenching of the teeth can also be due to other issues such as misalignment or sleep apnea. Visit your dentist so that they can identify and treat the underlying cause of the problem.