When you grind your teeth, dentists call it bruxism. If you have a problem with it, you might think it is harmless, but the people around you probably consider it to be an annoyance. Sometimes it indicates that you are feeling stressed and anxious, and you grind your teeth as a result. You might not even realize you are doing it, but there are clues. For example, you might be grinding your teeth together if your jaw is sore, you hear pops when your mouth opens or closes, your teeth begin to look short or more worn down than they used to be, or you see dents in your tongue.
Is it harmful? Unfortunately, yes. It can hurt your bite, wear down your teeth, and damage your jaw over time. The extra pressure is hard on your teeth, as you can imagine, and can loosen them or crack them, leading to a whole new problem of teeth that are sensitive to extremes of heat or cold because the enamel is no longer protecting the dentin underneath, where there are nerves.
Can you stop grinding your teeth? Dentists have some ways to help you, if you are willing to make the effort. There is an appliance you can put on before you go to bed to prevent you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. You can perform tongue exercises and be taught how to align the tongue, teeth, and lips correctly. Some dentists use biofeedback as a treatment method. Whatever you decide to try, however, it is important to find a solution so you don’t wear out your teeth before their time.