"Keep a stiff upper lip" or "get a grip!" That's often the advice we get -and give- on how to cope with stress. If you take it literally, the result could be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. It's called bruxism, and often it happens as you sleep.
Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. The symptoms of teeth grinding include:
* dull headaches
* jaw soreness
* teeth that are painful or loose
* fractured teeth
Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep. If stress is the cause, you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling, and excercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.
Teeth grinding is also common in children. However, because their teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly it is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment and most outgrow it by adolescence. Although in adults teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always true with children. Other possible causes of teeth grinding in children include:
* irritation in the mouth
* misaligned teeth
If you are concerned about teeth grinding, ask your dentist about potential causes and, if necessary, the possible solutions.