Health Tip: If You Grind Your Teeth

Suggestions that may help you stop

(HealthDay News) -- As many as 40 million Americans suffer from bruxism, better known as teeth grinding. Five percent to 10 percent of them grind their teeth so severely that they fracture dental fillings or cause other types of tooth damage.

Severe bruxism has also been blamed for some cases of temporomandibular joint dysfunction, mysterious morning headaches, and unexplained facial pain.

Bruxism can have a variety of psychological and physical causes. These include stress, the body's reaction to poor tooth alignment, as a complication of severe brain injury, or as an uncommon side effect of some antidepressant medications.

If you grind your teeth due to stress, the Columbia School of Dental and Oral Surgery says you may be able to prevent the problem by seeking professional counseling or by using strategies to help you learn to relax.

Also, try cutting down on your daily intake of alcohol and caffeine. If you need extra help to prevent tooth damage, your doctor or dentist may recommend a dental device called a bite plate or bite splint, designed to prevent the choppers from rubbing together.

Consumer News