Many people who grind their teeth have no idea that they do it, because the majority of people who grind their teeth do so while asleep. However, there are tell-tale signs that will help you determine whether or not this is an activity that you engage in while sleeping. Knowing that you grind your teeth and what you can do about it can help you take care of your teeth and prevent you from doing your teeth further harm.

How can you tell if you grind your teeth at night?

If you grind your teeth at night, you'll notice some or all of the following warning signs:

  • Loose teeth. Over many years, your teeth can become loose from too much nighttime grinding.
  • Even teeth. Teeth are naturally somewhat uneven on the bottom, with some teeth sticking out more than others. Biting down all night long will cause your teeth to become flat and level with one another.
  • Aches in the jaw, neck and ears. You may experience random pain in the neck, jaw and ears, especially upon waking in the morning.
  • White line inside the cheek. You may be able to see and feel a small, thin line marking the inside of your cheek where you've bit down.

In addition, other people in your life may notice that you grind your teeth. For example:

  • Spouse. Grinding your teeth makes an audible noise when it's taking place. Your spouse may hear you and be able to tell you if you grind your teeth.
  • Dentist or dental hygienist in your dental office. Your dentist and dental hygienist will both be able to identify the signs such as even teeth, loose teeth, cracked teeth and more. 

Why is it bad to grind your teeth?

Grinding your teeth can lead to the early deterioration of your teeth. Teeth grinding creates problems that range from cracks and chips in the teeth to facial disfigurement.

What can you do if you grind your teeth?

If you grind your teeth at night, wearing a night guard will help you protect your teeth. Your night guard will not stop your teeth from grinding, but it will slow down or stop the damage that your teeth experience during the grinding. You may also be able to stop the grinding by reducing stress in your life and drinking less caffeine.

For more information about how you can curb your tooth grinding habit, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist. Both can help you obtain a night guard that will fit your teeth perfectly. To find out more, speak with someone like Legacy Dental Arts.