One of the more worrying problems is tinnitus, which causes a ringing in the ears and is linked to hearing loss. It you suspect this it would be wise to see an audiologist to get your hearing checked. You can get free hearing test so it won’t cost you a penny. If you suffer from bruxism (the medical term for grinding your teeth), you may be beginning to worry. This article aims to list the causes and symptoms of teeth grinding, as well as what you can do to stop it.
What Causes Bruxism?
There are a number of different causes for clenching and grinding your teeth, and it is often linked to anxiety and stress. However, it usually occurs while you’re sleeping; this is more likely to be caused by an irregular bite (either over or under), or even crooked teeth.
How Can You Tell?
There are a few tell-tale signs – an aching jaw is a good one, especially in the morning. Constant headaches can also signify bruxism, but the most common sign is the noise; if you sleep next to somebody, they should be able to hear when you’re grinding your gnashers.
If you worry that you do it, make sure to book an appointment with your dentist right away – he or she will be able to notice the signs of bruxism with a simple examination.
What Harm Can It Do?
Quite a lot, actually. For a start, your teeth are naturally going to get damaged by this intensive wear – you may fracture them, or even cause them to fall out completely. Some people have had to get bridges, crowns, and dentures to fix the damage.
As for problems outside the teeth, bruxism can affect your jaws, cause (or worsen existing) temporomandibular disorders (TMDs), change the shape of your face or even cause a loss of hearing.
Studies, such as this one conducted in Greece, have proved the link between bruxism, TMDs and hearing loss. It has been found that there is a high correlation between grinding your teeth and suffering from tinnitus.
How Can You Stop It?
Luckily, there are all sorts of ways in which you can stop grinding your teeth. One of the easiest ones is to simply visit your dentist and ask for a mouth guard – this will fit over your teeth (usually the bottom set) and you’ll wear it while you sleep; it takes the punishment instead of your canines!
Because stress and anxiety are common factors in causing you to grind your teeth, reducing them can stop you doing it. Try starting a regular exercise programme or enquiring about muscle relaxants.
Other things you can do are to cut back on caffeinated products like cola and coffee, and cutting out alcohol. Unnecessary chewing should be avoided (biting pencils or chewing gum), and you can also try relaxing your jaw muscles with a warm cloth before bed.