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Teeth grinding could be cause of sore jaw, headaches

9:49 AM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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By Holly Firfer, CNN

Ever wake up with a sore jaw or a headache? You might be grinding your teeth in your sleep.

If left untreated, teeth grinding, or Bruxism, can do some real damage.

Bobby Ward is in his early 30s, but his teeth tell a different story. He grinds them, so they are now worn down beyond their years.

"I noticed that I have damage to particularly my lower teeth from grinding them at night and muscle soreness in the mornings," said Ward.

Bruxism, or teeth grinding or clenching, may be caused by stress, misaligned or missing teeth, or sleep problems.

"There's two types of Bruxism. There's some people who just clench. They just bring their teeth together and they just clench. And then there's other people that do a combination, clenching and then grinding," said Dr. George Michaels.

Because it often happens at night, many patients aren't aware of the habit until they start feeling symptoms such as teeth pain, jaw soreness, and headaches.

"I tell my patients basically our teeth are like glass. And with grinding that occurs on a daily basis, it can cause severe damage to teeth, creating stress fractures," said Dr. Michaels.

Managing stress may help some patients, but many like Bobby may also need a custom-made mouth guard that's worn at night.

Also remember to see a dentist regularly so the problem can be caught early.

CNN

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