Do you grind your teeth when you feel angry or frustrated? Or do wake up in the morning with a painful jaw? Teeth grinding might seem like a harmless habit, a way to release the negative emotions you are feeling – but grinding your teeth can actually harm your teeth, and your jaw. If you think your teeth grinding habit is getting out of hand, you might want to ask your dentist or your physician for help before the situation worsens.
Your teeth can be harmed if you grind your teeth regularly, and for a long period of time. Our teeth are protected by a hard, outer layer called the enamel. When you repeatedly grind your teeth together, the tooth enamel can be prematurely eroded, which leads to the exposure of the sensitive inner portion called the pulp. Tooth sensitivity issues can develop, and the affected teeth may also be more susceptible to decay.
Aside from the teeth, your gums are exposed to harm when you grind your teeth. The soft gum tissue may be injured when exposed to extreme pressure through teeth grinding; the gums may not be able to provide support to teeth anymore when they are harmed this way. Problems with the jaw joint can also arise from habitual teeth grinding. A temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problem can develop when teeth grinding is left unaddressed, causing extreme pain that can radiate to the neck, face, and head area.
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