Tooth grinding is typically viewed as a painful nuisance, as it increases jaw tension and tooth pain. However, if you're struggling with grinding your teeth, you might be surprised to learn that it's putting your oral health at risk in other ways, too. Read on to learn how mouthguards can protect you from severe oral health problems if you grind your teeth.
The Effects of Tooth Grinding
Tooth grinding can stress the muscles in your jaw and cause pain, but it can also seriously harm your teeth. Over time, clenching or grinding your teeth together can wear down the enamel on the surface of the teeth, revealing the dentin underneath. Dentin is much softer and more malleable than enamel, which means that it is more susceptible to the pressure and stress of you grinding your teeth.
Once the enamel on your teeth has worn down, continuing to grind will increase the risk of cracking, breaking, or chipping your teeth. Any remaining enamel will be worn away, exposing more dentin, or even the tooth's pulp. Both the dentin and pulp are extremely sensitive to bacteria, plaque, and tartar, which severely increases your risk of developing cavities.
Worse still, since the cavity will form further into your tooth than if it was developing at the external layers, the root of your tooth could be harmed very quickly. This may mean that the only course of action will be a root canal.
Using a Mouthguard
Mouthguards prevent your teeth from rubbing together when you're sleeping, even if you clench your jaw in your sleep. This will stop the enamel from being broken down, and if the enamel has already worn away, it'll protect your dentin from being damaged.
Wearing a mouthguard regularly when you sleep or any other time that you grind your teeth together may help you to prevent deep cavities.
See a Dentist
Any variety of mouthguard will provide protection for your teeth, but seeing a dentist to have a custom mouthguard made is a good idea. If you've been a habitual tooth grinder, chances are the enamel on your teeth has already worn down. It's a good idea to have your dentist inspect your teeth for damage and early cavities to prevent or reverse damage that's already been done.
In addition, custom mouthguards are generally a better investment than store-bought mouthguards. They're made of better materials and fitted precisely to your teeth, meaning that it will be a comfortable fit and will potentially last for years.
Grinding your teeth is a painful condition that can cause serious harm to your teeth, including cavities. Talk to your dentist, like http://www.getaperfectsmile.com, about having a mouthguard made to prevent these problems from happening to you.