Most people probably grind and clench their teeth from time to time. Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications can arise. Bruxism affects about 10 to 15 percent of adults, according to the American Dental Association.
Grinding one’s teeth erodes tooth enamel and can damage dental work. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist. He or she can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and abnormalities in your teeth. There are several ways to alleviate the effects of bruxism. One of the most common, which your dentist may recommend, is a night guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.
The mouth guard, supplied by a dentist, can fit over the teeth to prevent teeth from grinding against each other. Stress reduction and other lifestyle modifications, including the avoidance of alcohol and caffeine, may also be helpful. Your dentist may ask you questions about your sleep habits to see if a sleep study is needed.