No matter how good you are to your teeth all day, there’s a common condition that could be harming your teeth at night: teeth grinding. You may not have any idea that you’re doing it, but once you know the symptoms, you might be surprised.
Grinding your teeth at night can have pretty subtle symptoms. Most people simply notice that they are waking up stressed with a sore, painful jaw. They also often report having a persistent headache throughout the day. And because these symptoms can often go overlooked, the nightly grinding continues and lots of unseen damage is done to your teeth.
Teeth-grinding (also known as bruxism) is just another way our bodies react to stress, but if left unchecked, it can cause major tooth sensitivity, which is both painful and stressful. The damage happens slowly over time: grinding creates tiny cracks in the enamel of your teeth. Eventually dentin, the sensitive layer under your enamel, becomes exposed and makes your teeth vulnerable to hot and cold temperatures.
If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, visit your dentist so he or she can check for signs and possibly prescribe you a night guard. This should help both you and your teeth get a good night’s sleep.