Why You Might Need A Night Guard During The Pandemic
The pandemic is causing many of us a great deal of stress, which can affect the human body in a variety of ways. One of the physiological effects of stress is clenching and grinding your teeth more than usual, something that often happens in your sleep.
However, this tension on your mouth can also happen in the daytime. If you find that your top and bottom teeth are touching each other during the day, something is wrong. Your teeth shouldn’t actually touch each other except for when you are eating! Because this is triggered during times of high stress, it is a particularly common issue right now during the pandemic.
If you notice that your mouth is tense during the day or that you wake up with a clenched jaw, even if it has recently started happening, you should learn why it happens and what you can do to stop the bad habit before it becomes harmful to your mouth.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is another name for teeth grinding, and it is known to be related to stress and anxiety. You might experience some pain in the face, headaches, or even earaches as a result of constant teeth-grinding and jaw clenching. You could also find that you have poorer sleep as a result of this new mannerism.
The Effects of Grinding Your Teeth
Although you might feel it is okay to grind your teeth and clench your jaw from time to time, in fact you could be causing yourself some considerable damage. Even if you only occasionally grind your teeth, you are still having a considerable impact on your dental health.
Over time, you are much more likely to have cracked teeth if you are grinding them because the unnecessary pressure weakens your teeth. This could be a painful and expensive problem to solve, so you need to make sure that you do everything you can to avoid or quit grinding your teeth.
The Pandemic and Stress
Most of us are experiencing higher levels of stress than normal at the moment, owed to the pandemic and the unprecedented changes we are going through. So many aspects of our daily lives have changed, and many of us don’t know what is going to happen next with our schooling, jobs, social lives, etc. This can cause a great deal of stress, which can lead to teeth grinding.
If you are already prone to stressful feelings, or you experience related problems such as anxiety, you should pay particular attention to how you can relieve these problems. It might be helpful to find other ways to deal with your stress, in addition to trying to fix the problem directly. These might include:
Improving quality and length of sleep
If you can find healthy ways to manage your stress, you will grind your teeth less. If you are finding it difficult to reduce stress, or if you are still grinding your teeth despite having done these things, you’ll need to explore other solutions.
How to Stop Grinding
If you are trying to stop grinding your teeth, some dentists recommend that you set a timer every hour. When the timer goes off, you can check whether you are grinding your teeth or not. At first, you might catch yourself grinding or clenching your teeth; you will be surprised by just how often you are doing it. In a way, this can help you to realize just how much you do it and can motivate yourself to find ways to stop.
That is one method, but it can be a pain to try and keep that up, as you might imagine. A more effective method that many dentists would recommend is to use a mouth guard or a night guard. This is a guard that is molded to your teeth; wearing it at night means that your teeth are unable to touch each other if you start unconsciously clenching.
A night guard maintains the alignment of your jaw throughout the nighttime hours, keeping the possibility of gnashing, clenching, and grinding to a minimum. It becomes physically impossible to do these things with a well-fitted night guard in.
If you think you might need a night guard, you should see a dentist who can make you a mouth guard or night guard. They will be able to fit it perfectly to your teeth, and in doing so they could be fixing your bruxism for good.
If you are worried about the condition of your teeth at all during the pandemic, even beyond jaw clenching and teeth grinding, you should go to see a dentist immediately. Simply dealing with it head on will reduce stress, which in turn reduces future dental problems you might experience.