Grinding your teeth is a habit that can cause significant damage over time, and not just to your teeth.
If you have seen a dentist, he or she may have pointed out signs that you are grinding or clenching your teeth, which can include craze lines on your teeth as well as surface wear on the places where your teeth impact each other.
You may also find that you grind or clench your teeth during the day when you are concentrating or feel stressed. If you do, it’s likely that you also grind or clench during sleep, perhaps more intensely than you do during the day. Aggressive grinding and clenching can lead to cracked and chipped teeth. But there are also more subtle effects that build over time and can lead you to age prematurely.
Flattening of teeth
Your smile can change over years of teeth grinding because the grinding wears away the enamel on the surface of the teeth. The friction flattens or shortens, the teeth. This creates an impact on your smile’s appearance that can make you look older, but more significantly, it also affects the health of your teeth, making them more sensitive and vulnerable to cavities.
When you begin losing your teeth’s enamel, you may also find that your teeth look more yellow. That is because the dentin, which sits beneath the enamel and is naturally yellow, begins to show through.
Lines around your mouth
Grinding and clenching your teeth during the day or night can cause your lips to compress. This motion makes creases form, similar to those caused by smoking. These are short creases the run inward across the lips and extend slightly beyond. You can also see them when you purse your lips.
If your teeth-grinding habit is frequent enough, the creases will begin to create wrinkles that are visible even when you are not grinding. Though this is largely an aesthetic effect of teeth grinding, it can age your appearance.
Sinking or volume loss around the mouth
Teeth grinding irritates and inflames your gums because of the pressure traveling through your teeth into the gingiva. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are therefore common side effects of untreated teeth-grinding habits.
Gingivitis is an infection of the superficial layers of the gums that leads to redness and irritation, while the periodontal disease progresses deeper into the gums. Because of its deeper presence, periodontal disease can impact your jawbone, actually causing gum recession and bone loss in the upper or lower jaw around the areas most affected by the disease.
Bone loss from teeth grinding can create a number of issues. Externally, it can impact the appearance of your face, causing volume loss around the mouth—the appearance of sinking. Inside your mouth, it can cause your teeth to shift and lead to the loosening of teeth that are no longer being held as firmly. If this progresses far enough, you will lose teeth.
Once you lose teeth, the bone loss in the jaw can worsen further because there is no longer a tooth present to stimulate bone regeneration in the area. Therefore, your facial structure may be significantly impacted by the long-term effects of untreated teeth grinding in ways that age your appearance and your physical health.
Because your body cannot regrow bone that has been lost, it is important to address loose teeth, shifting teeth, and any other signs of bone loss in a timely manner. You may need bone grafting to secure your teeth, or you may need bone grafting in combination with a tooth replacement implant.
Internal aging effects
If your teeth grinding or clenching has contributed to periodontal disease, you may also suffer from more widespread effects throughout your body. That’s because the bacteria involved in periodontal disease is deep within the gum where it can reach the bloodstream, increasing inflammatory mediators. Researchers have therefore noted a surprising link between periodontal disease and other issues, such as heart disease.
So, teeth grinding does not just have the possibility of aging your teeth, gums, and appearance, it can also impact your overall well-being, aging your body from the inside.
Addressing teeth grinding
The fastest way to prevent many of the damaging effects of teeth grinding is to use a night guard. A night guard will cover your teeth while you sleep, reducing the friction and pressure caused by grinding and clenching. You can order a custom night guard through your dentist or directly from TeethNightGuard.
To address the root causes of teeth grinding, you may want to have your dentist look for any teeth or jaw alignment issues, and you will want to reduce stressors in your life or find ways of de-stressing effectively. That’s because stress is a major contributing factor to teeth grinding.
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STANDARD SOFT FLEXIBLE 3MM CUSTOM TEETH GRINDING NIGHT GUARD - EXCELLENT COMFORT
Item Number SWSNG Manufacturer Sparkling White Smiles Dental Lab Rating Product Description 3mm Dual Layer is the Recommended Standard Thickness for a Professionally made Custom Night Guard Our Custom Teeth Night Guards are BPA, Latex and Phthalate Free Night Guard designed… Read More