How can I tell if I’m grinding my teeth? What can I do about it?

Many people grind or clench their teeth during the day when they’re stressed. But some people actually grind their teeth in their sleep, and can go for years without recognizing the damage they’re doing to their jaws and teeth.

Symptoms of grinding and gritting include jaw pain, tenseness in the jaw muscles (this is a symptom common to many nighttime grinders), headaches, pain in or around the ears, and flattened or chipped tooth edges. To alleviate the symptoms of grinding, your dentist can make a mouth guard that can prevent damage to your teeth, and also relax your jaw muscles so that you don’t experience discomfort or tenseness.

If you believe that you are grinding your teeth, be sure to make an appointment with your dentist. Also, avoid chewing gum for the time being, as this can exacerbate symptoms and dental damage.