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Let's Talk About: Clenching and Grinding

I find myself talking with patients about teeth grinding, aka bruxism, every single day.  Why?  Most people don’t know if they’re grinding their teeth, so dentists are the first people to point it out.  Turns out at least 20% of the population clenches or grinds their teeth every day in a traumatic fashion.  This tooth against tooth wear is known as attrition.

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We can grind at both at night and during the day.  Both adults and children can brux their teeth.  There are a number of reasons we grind our teeth.  Stress and anxiety play a big role.  Our airway is another huge factor, as is, where our teeth sit in relation to each other.  


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Think about situations where you’ve caught yourself clenching.  At the gym, sitting in traffic, before a big presentation or exam?  It’s totally normal!  In fact, studies show clenching and grinding, reduces cortisol levels in our blood reducing our stress!

Unfortunately, clenching and grinding can both chip away or crack teeth, and aggravate the muscles in our jaw causing pain in our teeth, head and neck.  When our teeth get worn down, they can shift, become more susceptible to cavities, and can change their appearance to look ragged.  

Good news, it can be fixed and even prevented.  We’ll discuss that in another post.  Please comment any questions you may have about tooth wear!

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