What is tooth grinding?
Many people grind their teeth. You may have noticed yourself or someone you know do this during the day or at night, especially in times of stress, anger or frustration. Modern life is full of constant stimulation and stress, and your body can pick up on this and cause your jaw muscles to be stimulated more than they should, which results in clenching (having your teeth biting down hard) or grinding (rubbing your teeth together).
Your teeth aren’t designed for this much work – and over time they can wear down, chip or break. Most of your grinding happens at night when you’re asleep – so to prevent this from happening, we often make a ‘nightguard’ to prevent the harmful effects of grinding when sleeping.
How to look after your nightguard:
If you already have a nightguard, there’s a few things you can do to look after it so it lasts.
If not – read more about night guards and grinding here.
- Cleaning – when you take it out in the morning, give it a rinse and a brush with a separate brush (not the one you use to brush your teeth).
- Do not use toothpaste on it, as it is a little abrasive and will scratch or wear out your nightguard quicker. Diluted dish soap is a better non-abrasive cleanser.
- Place it in its box, leaving it open (to let it dry out) before you close the box. Try to keep it out of reach of pets to avoid getting your dog an expensive chew toy!
- To deep clean (once a fortnight or so) – you can use denture cleaner, or a mixture of half white vinegar and half water. Soak for 30 minutes then give it a light brush and a rinse. Don’t forget to clean your case, too!
When to replace your nightguard:
You may be due for a new nightguard if:
- You’ve worn into your existing nightguard and it’s becoming very thin or has holes in it – the nightguard has done its job of protecting your teeth but it needs replacing.
- It’s getting quite loose or falling out when you’re asleep
- It’s getting very stained and the above care instructions aren’t improving it
If you have any of these concerns, bring your nightguard in with you for a consult so we can assess it – even if the old one is broken, it’s useful to see what type of nightguard it is when we’re planning your new one.
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