Bruxism is the term that professionals in the dental field use when referring to the habit of grinding or clenching the teeth together. For children, it most often happens in the night time while they are asleep. Because they are unaware of the action it can go on for some time without anyone noticing. The first indication may be when the family dentist sees that the child’s enamel is showing unexplained signs of wear and tear. Once the habit has been discovered the dentist may recommend that the patient wear a dental night guard to protect the enamel from further damage.

Children aren’t the only ones, adults can also be affected by bruxism. It is an involuntary reflex that may be the result of emotional stress or it could be a matter of genetics. Whatever the cause there are definite symptoms that can identify the habit.

The noise from all the grinding may be loud enough to rouse you or your sleep partner. If you find that you’re waking up several times during the night it may well mean that you are a “bruxer.†Frequent headaches or pain in the jaw area may also occur as a result of bruxism.

The longer the bruxism goes undetected the greater the chances are for serious damage to permanent adult teeth. Your dentist may recommend being tested for a sleep disorder that may be contributing to the bruxing as well as wearing a protective night guard.

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