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Many people grind their teeth from time to time. If teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism, only occurs occasionally, it usually does not cause harm to the teeth and jaw. However, regular bruxism can damage the teeth and cause other oral health issues. Teeth grinding and clenching often occurs during sleep. Chronic teeth grinding can cause fractured, loosened, or lost teeth. Bruxism can also cause excessive wear on the teeth.

Because bruxism often occurs during sleep, most people do not know that they grind their teeth. If you wake with a dull headache or a sore jaw, you may be grinding your teeth at night.

Follow these tips to help prevent teeth grinding:

• Avoid or reduce ingesting foods and drinks that contain caffeine, like coffee, chocolate, and soda.
• Avoid alcohol ingestion, as this tends to intensify bruxism.
• Do not chew on pencils, pens, and other non-food objects. Avoid gum as well, as it trains you to clench your teeth.
• If you notice yourself grinding or clenching your teeth during the day, place the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This trains your jaw muscles to relax.
• Hold a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of the earlobe to relax your jaw muscles at night.

Talk to our dentist if you think that you may be grinding or clenching your teeth. Your jaw can be examined for signs of bruxism. If needed, our dentist can provide a custom-made night guard, a covering worn over the teeth to protect them from injury from teeth grinding. We welcome you to contact our dental office today to learn more and to schedule an appointment with our dentist.