Jaw Pain: Teeth Grinding?
How does your jaw feel these days? If you’re like many Americans, tension, pain, and tenderness may be among your symptoms.
Jaw pain can be caused by a wide number of factors, including stress, infection, inflammation, injury, and teeth grinding. But it can also lead to a number of even more severe problems, like temporomandibular disorders (TMD), which affect your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Think your jaw pain might be caused be teeth grinding? Here are four signs to look for.
Pain in the mornings
If your jaw pain is most acute in the mornings after waking up, it could indicate that something’s been going on in your sleep to cause stress. Bruxism (chronic teeth grinding, most often at night) is often a culprit for jaw pain. If you notice tension in your jaw or headaches first thing in the morning, it may be a sign that you’re grinding your teeth at night.
Jaw clenching during the day
Bruxism is often linked to stress and can lead to a habit of teeth grinding or jaw clenching in moments of anxiety. Even if you’re only grinding your teeth at night, look for instances that you clench your jaw during stressful situations at work, difficult personal conversations, or while stuck in traffic. That tension in your jaw may have started at night but could become a regular practice.
Damage to tooth enamel
Jaw pain resulting from sinus issues or muscle inflammation is unlikely to have a marked effect on your teeth. But if you’re grinding your teeth, you’re almost sure to see decay or damage to your enamel. Look for erosion of the enamel, including discoloration, temperature sensitivity, or indentations on your teeth. If you notice these symptoms in addition to your jaw pain, you may be suffering from bruxism.
Other health habits
Diet, smoking, and alcohol can all contribute to or exacerbate bruxism. If you eat a diet that’s high in sugary, acidic, or caffeinated food and beverages, that may encourage teeth grinding. Similarly, smoking and drinking alcohol can impact the likelihood of bruxism and affect tension or pain you feel in your jaw, neck, and face. Curbing or eliminating these from your regular diet may help your jaw pain.
Experiencing these symptoms points to bruxism, which can lead to increasing tooth damage, even cracking or losing teeth, as well as temporomandibular disorders and more severe jaw issues. If you think might be grinding your teeth at night, a dental guard can help you stop — and relieve your jaw pain. Visit www.sleepright.com for more information.