How Can a Mouth Guard Help Protect Your Child's Oral Health?
When children play, they can play rough, and this can lead to a number of injuries. However, many people overlook the potential for dental injuries in that mix since it is often bones that children break first. If you want to help protect your child from oral problems, you may want to look into a mouth guard for specific activities as they grow up. Consider talking with us about getting a mouth guard to protect your child's teeth when they are playing sports, getting rowdy, or just playing more rambunctiously than normal. That small piece of plastic could help protect your child's teeth from harm.
If you get a mouth guard for your child, make sure you ask any questions you may have about how to keep it clean. That way, when they put the mouth guard in, the only thing you have to worry about is keeping your child safe, not adding to their risk of cavities, too.
Problems caused by Bruxism
Patients with bruxism will grind, gnash, or clench their teeth at night. Most of the time, they aren’t even aware they’re doing it. Teeth are not designed to endure this constant force. Untreated bruxism can lead to several problems, including migraines, the recession of gums, enamel loss, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Teeth can also become yellowed or fractured.
Causes of Bruxism
Teeth grinding has many different causes. Some people are genetically predisposed to it, but it is also caused by disorders like Parkinson’s or Huntington’s diseases or sleep apnea. It is also caused by misaligned teeth (known as malocclusion) and neurotransmitter disruptions.
Lifestyle also plays a role. Patients who drink too much alcohol or coffee increase their risk, as do those who use tobacco. People with depression, anxiety, high levels of stress or poor stress management are also at risk. Amphetamines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety drugs used to treat these conditions can also bring on bruxism.
Night Mouthguard Treatment
One of the most common treatment options for teeth grinding is wearing a mouthguard at night. This device fits over your teeth to prevent them from grinding together, chipping, cracking, or straining your jaw muscles. You can buy one at most pharmacies without a prescription. To use it, place it in boiling water, allow it to cool for a few seconds, and then bite into it gently so it can shape your teeth.
We can also prescribe mouthguards that are made in a laboratory after we make an impression of your teeth. Mouthguards made by dental professionals fit better, are more comfortable, and are of a higher quality than over-the-counter ones, though they are more expensive.
Alternative Treatments for Bruxism
If you find a mouthguard uncomfortable or undesirable, we have a few other options that you might want to ask about. If misaligned teeth are causing you to grind your teeth, then straightening them through orthodontic devices such as braces can fix this.
Anxiety, depression, and stress are also leading causes of bruxism, so reducing your stress levels can go a long way in treating teeth grinding. Our doctor may suggest stress reduction methods for you to use at home so that you can relax better and stop grinding your teeth. Professional counseling is also an option.
We might also recommend avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, as well as alcohol and tobacco. Medications like antidepressants can also cause bruxism, so please tell our doctor which medications you are on so he can recommend alternatives if the situation demands it. The important thing to keep in mind is that bruxism is treatable with the help of a dental professional, and we are here to help.
For more information, please contact our office at (240) 981-4020.