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Teeth That Grind in the Night

You’re supposed to be sound asleep…so why are you clenching and crunching your teeth together? If you gnash and gnaw in your slumber, you have what’s called sleep bruxism.

Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaws at night can wear down your teeth, causing serious damage, such as tooth fractures. Sleep bruxism also can harm the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in your jaw.

Not sure if you’re giving your teeth a rest or not? You may be grinding your teeth at night if you have:

  • Headaches

  • Unexplained facial pain

  • A sore jaw

  • Neck aches

  • Earaches

If you’re concerned about your teeth grinding, talk with your dentist. A nighttime mouth guard may help you prevent tooth damage and pain. Other advice to chew on: Stress may worsen teeth grinding, so try not to let it sink its jaws into you.

“Bruxism.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, February 22, 2012. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001413.htm Accessed 2013.

“Teeth Grinding.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/teeth-grinding Accessed 2013.

“TMJ Disorders.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, February 22, 2012. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001227.htm Accessed 2013.

“TMJ.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/tmj. Accessed 2013.

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