Why Do I Grind My Teeth at Night?

Have you been waking up for years with a sore jaw and you write it off as getting older or simply deal with it? Are there consistent headaches plaguing your mornings, making it difficult to start your day without pain? These issues (and many others) could be caused by bruxism or grinding and clenching your teeth while you sleep. Your dentist in Boerne can reassure you that teeth grinding is more common than you might think. While it’s normal to occasionally clench and grind your teeth, chronic sleep bruxism can negatively affect your oral and overall health if left untreated. 

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth While Sleeping?

According to the Sleep Foundation, nocturnal teeth grinding still isn’t entirely understood, even with the advanced technology and treatments available in dental and regular medicine today. However, many contributing factors can lead to nighttime grinding that can include:

  • Increased daytime stress
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Frustration and anger
  • Caffeine or alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco use

You’ll want to discuss what medications you’re taking with your dentist in Boerne. Certain pills, such as antidepressants, can lead to teeth grinding.

How Does Teeth Grinding Impact My Health?

Forget about the constant disruptions to your sleep cycle that are keeping you from getting the rest you need; bruxism can be bad for your teeth and cause severe pain. When you chronically grind your teeth, it wears down your enamel. When you lose your precious tooth enamel this can result in: 

What’s worse, your grinding and clenching can also cause issues with your temporomandibular joint or TMJ joining resulting in pain and loss of functionality.

How to Treat Nighttime Teeth Grinding

Your dentist in Boerne will take the first step in helping you find relief from your bruxism by trying to determine the underlying cause of it. Is it stress or anxiety that’s causing your grinding? Is it another condition called sleep apnea contributing to your issue? If you or someone in your family has constant or persistent pain in your mouth, neck, and jaw from grinding, it’s time to talk with us. You’re experiencing this discomfort because you probably don’t even realize you’re grinding your teeth while you’re sleeping. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your teeth, with up to 250 pounds of force, leading to headaches and so much more. 

Grinding your teeth is not 100 percent curable, but there are ways to:

  • Reduce how often it’s happening
  • Decrease the amount of impact it has
  • Relieve your stress and symptoms

It’s important to speak with a professional about sleep bruxism and teeth grinding because we can also identify if it’s connected to other conditions like sleep apnea or acid reflux. We’ll find answers to your questions and figure out what solution will be best for you. You might benefit from a custom-fitted nightguard that will help to protect your smile from further damage while you work on a treatment plan. 

Are you ready to get help? Contact us today to schedule a consultation so we can address your questions and help you heal. 

Have Fun in the Sun This Summer: 3 Tips for a Healthy Mouth

Things are heating up, and we know how exciting it can be to get out and travel to experience all that the gorgeous summer season has to offer us. Your Boerne dentist is excited too, and we thought you might want some helpful tips on how to take care of your teeth when the temperatures heat up.

Tip #1 – Remember: Your Teeth Aren’t Tools

Whether you’re hopping on a flight to your exciting vacation destination or if you’re going to be in the area for more of a ‘staycation’ with your family, it’s important to remember to take care of your smile — no matter where you are in the country or the world. We always want to remind our patients that their teeth are strong, but they’re not strong enough to be used as tools. You can easily end up with a tooth that’s chipped or broken because you tried to use it to open a bottle, wrapper, chip bag, etc.

Sometimes it is too easy not to use your teeth to rip open that annoying plastic bag to get the job done more quickly, but instantly, your smile could be at risk for unwanted and unnecessary damage. Use your beautiful smile to enjoy your favorite summer treats (and don’t forget to brush).

Tip #2 – Watch Out for the Sun

Your Boerne dentist knows how important it is for everyone of all ages to protect themselves from harmful UV rays from the sun. Don’t forget to wear plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated with water when outside this summer. Here’s another tip that some people forget: Don’t forget about your lips. Remember to always apply a lip balm with a sun protection factor or SPF of at least 15.

Why? Because your lips are very sensitive and susceptible to getting sunburn, just like the rest of your body. Over time, this can lead to other health issues, including skin or oral cancer. In short, don’t forget to pack your lip balm and protect your lips while you’re enjoying the outdoors.

Tip #3 – Keep Up With Your Hygiene Routine

Schedules can change in the summer thanks to kids being out of school and vacations being planned across Boerne. Sometimes it’s easy to fall out of our regular routines, including brushing our teeth. Things tend to fall to the wayside, and that’s OK. Summer is all about having fun, and that’s what we want you to do.

Just don’t forget about taking care of your smile. Your at-home oral hygiene routine is essential to keeping your teeth in good shape in between your visits with us. This helps keep your teeth free from cavities or decay. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing them once is the perfect way to ensure they stay in top shape and protect your overall well-being.

Be smart and be careful this summer, but most importantly, enjoy every minute. If you’re looking for a dentist in Boerne to help keep your teeth healthy, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us.