Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. People who drink alcohol and smokers are approximately twice as likely to grind their teeth. The symptoms of teeth grinding include dull headaches, jaw soreness, teeth that are painful or loose, and fractured teeth.
Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep. In some cases, your dentist or physician may recommend taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime. If stress is the cause, you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling and exercise 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; 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, allergies, and misaligned teeth.
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