Bruxism refers to the habit of grinding one’s teeth. It can also refer to the habit of clenching one’s jaw. There are several consequences of bruxism, including wear and abrasion of the teeth, headaches, facial and mouth pain, and jawbone pain. In addition, the noise of teeth-grinding may prevent other family members from sleeping.
It is estimated that 8% of adults suffer from bruxism, and that 14% of children grind their teeth a few times a week.
There can be many causes for bruxism, from anxiety to a neurochemical sensitivity to brief and intense waking episodes at night, but science has yet to shed light on this mystery. One thing is certain: anxiety is a trigger for teeth-grinding.
Here are a few tips for preventing bruxism:
Don’t smoke in the evening
Avoid heavy alcohol consumption
Don’t sleep on your back
Avoid noise, for example, a computer or TV in the bedroom
Products such as Robaxacet, Tylenol Muscle or Flexeril (prescription needed) can be taken when you go to bed to reduce muscle pain and tension during episodes of bruxism. For more severe cases, you can take Rivotril (Clonazepam, prescription needed) for a short period.