What really helps against grinding your teeth

What really helps against grinding your teeth


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Grinding your teeth: what you can do about grinding your teeth

Around eight percent of Germans grind their teeth at night. This gnashing of teeth takes some people's sleep, but others don't notice it for a long time. However, it can lead to numerous health consequences. Crunch splints are often used to address the problem. But relaxation exercises to reduce stress can also help many.

Enormous damage to the dental apparatus According to dental experts, around eight percent of German adults grind their teeth at night. The problem only diminishes from the age of over 65, and only three percent of the older people are said to crunch. When grinding your teeth, also called bruxism, tooth enamel, jaw muscles and joints are sometimes enormously damaged. In addition to the chewing muscles, other muscle groups that are tense to stabilize the head can also be damaged. A distinction is made between day and night active grinders. The dental director of the Psychosomatics Department in Dentistry at the University Polyclinic in Münster, Dr. Anne Wolowski explained: "With sleep bruxism those affected tend to grind, with awake bruxism they usually clench their teeth."

Serious consequential damage to health The consequential damage to health can be serious. Among other things, this can lead to severe pain syndromes and buzzing in the ears. Dizziness, visual disturbances and nausea often occur. In addition, sufferers often suffer from back pain, neck pain, headache, shoulder pain and pain in the pelvic muscles. In addition, gnashing of teeth sometimes leads to sleep problems and dental problems. These include cracks in the enamel, broken corners, loose fillings, misaligned jaws and completely rubbed off tooth substance. However, many sufferers do not notice anything at all and only seek help from the dentist when the damage is already great. "It happens that we have to crown all teeth because they are so damaged," said the Münster dental specialist.

Different causes The causes of bruxism are still poorly researched scientifically. Risk factors include sleep disorders, but also influences from alcohol, smoking, caffeine or some medications. According to the RP, deviations in the temporomandibular joint or misaligned teeth can also be the cause of the tooth-destroying activity. According to numerous experts, mental problems, including depression, chronic stress or fear, are among the triggers. "Many lack the ability to relax in phases that are not stressful," said Wolowski. The specialist continued: "The stress situation is the trigger, but the problem can no longer be switched off."

Bite splints protect the dentition Usually, bruxism is diagnosed by a dentist. The standard therapy is a so-called crunch splint (bite splint), which sufferers usually have to wear at night. These plastic splints are designed to prevent overloading the teeth, muscles and joints, protect the teeth and compensate for irregularities. In a scientific statement, the German Society for Functional Diagnostics and Therapy (DGFDT) recommends hard splints which, when put over the teeth, also have a relief on the occlusal surface, which brings the upper jaw into an optimal position when biting. "We do not recommend soft rails, because they give in so much that they trigger a chewing gum effect," says Wolowski. However, this therapy does not change the basic problem of crunching.

Mechanisms for coping with stress In order to get to the root of the problem, you should learn mechanisms for coping with stress and sharpen your self-awareness. “You don't help someone who has a completely tense neck by asking them to just let go. He can't do that, ”explained the dental specialist. In this context, experts often advise on yoga, autogenic training, hypnotherapy, progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobsen, biodfeedback or behavior therapy. In physiotherapy, stubborn spasms are released and then the patients learn how to relieve the jaw and how chewing movements and the opening and closing of the jaw are being carried out. Recently, dentists have also started offering botox treatment to relax the muscles that are hardened by grinding the teeth. However, little is known about the longer-term consequences. However, experts usually advise against drugs that provide short-term relief. (ad)

Image: Thommy Weiss / pixelio.de

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Video: Treating Teeth Grinding u0026 Jaw Pain


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