Grinding your teeth at night damages your teeth

Grinding your teeth at night damages your teeth

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The teeth suffer significant damage in the long term when they grind their teeth
Many people subconsciously grind their teeth during the day or during sleep. Again and again they press their jaws together, moving their lower jaws in the process, ”reports the Leipzig University Hospital. In the long run, the human chewing tools take lasting damage and muscle and TMJ pain can also be caused by grinding your teeth. Stress is often the cause of bruxism (technical term for grinding teeth).

According to the Leipzig University Hospital, both situation-related and chronic stress can cause people to grind their teeth. The muscles are contracted rhythmically, the rows of teeth are pressed together and the typical noise is created by a grinding movement of the lower jaw. Due to the repeated rubbing, the teeth are increasingly damaged and the high forces lead to a chronic overload of the masticatory muscles and the temporomandibular joint. However, there are good options for treatment or prevention.

Massive strain on the teeth
When grinding your teeth, “forces of up to 70 kilograms can act on the teeth,” explains Dr. Oliver Schierz, Head of Clinical Prosthetics at the Polyclinic for Dental Prosthetics and Materials Science at the University Hospital Leipzig. The duration of the tooth contact makes it clear what strain the grinding of the teeth represents. "If you look at the tooth contact every 24 hours, we talk about chewing for eight minutes, swallowing for 15 minutes and grinding teeth for up to two hours - with much higher forces," Schierz continues.

Migraine is a possible consequence
A basic distinction is made between crunching during the day and crunching at night. Crunching at night is now considered a sleep disorder that occurs in the transitions between sleep phases. The crunching during the day is usually a sign of stress. However, the consequences are comparable. "Masticatory muscle and TMJ pain, especially when there is grinding at night and during the day," according to the Leipzig University Hospital, is common. Migraine-like headaches can also develop. In addition, the crunching of the temples and cheek muscles is trained, "which unfortunately unfortunately increases the forces even more," warns Dr. Schierz.

Teeth are damaged
According to the expert, the consequences of years of grinding are measurable in the truest sense of the word: This makes the teeth visibly shorter, more level and more sharp-edged at the edges. Fillings fall out easily and dentures break faster. In addition, the pressure and the movements lead to compression of the teeth, which can cause flaking of small fragments on the tooth neck. This will make the tooth neck hypersensitive and, in the worst case, the tooth nerve can even die. In addition, there are pain in the muscles of the muscles and jaw joints as a result of the overload.

A plastic rail helps at night
"Those affected often register the crunch, but do not notice how hard they are pressing," reports Dr. Schierz. The expert also explains what people can do to protect their teeth. According to Dr. Schierz also differentiates between gnashing of teeth during the day and at night. At night, gnashing of teeth is “an unconscious thing that cannot really be influenced.” Therefore, a so-called bite guard made of plastic is recommended for those affected to protect their teeth. So the plastic breaks instead of the teeth. If necessary, damaged rails can be replaced relatively easily and inexpensively.

Gritting your teeth can be weaned off
The expert, on the other hand, recommends people who crunch during the day to relax their muscles in stressful situations. According to Dr. Schierz "learn to get rid of the crunch during the day." One possible method here is, for example, autogenic training. The so-called "red dot method" also helps. For this purpose, a red dot "is placed in a clearly visible place in your everyday life, where you have always been grinding", explains Dr. Schierz .. If you then look at this red dot, those affected should briefly check for themselves whether they are gritting their teeth or not. According to Schierz, plastic rails like at night are not suitable for daytime grinders. "It's easy to speak with these plastic parts, and they aren't visually appealing either," Schierz continues. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: Teeth Grinding Bruxism Symptoms (August 2022).