It’s a lot harder to chew when your teeth are flat nubs.
Here’s a pop quiz for you: where did all of the world’s various canyons and rock faces come from? Answer: weathering, the process by which stone is gradually worn down over the years by constant rubbing and grinding from external forces. Now, consider this: if constant grinding can wear solid stone down into a canyon, what does that mean for grinding in your teeth? I think you know the answer.
Teeth grinding, also known as “bruxism,” often occurs as a result of either stress or misaligned teeth. Or sometimes both! You might not even realize you’re doing it, but in the long term, grinding can be extremely harmful to the integrity of your teeth. Grinding wears down your teeth, making them more susceptible to damage and cavities. It can also cause chronic pain in your jaw, and in extreme cases, subtly alter the shape of your face. Whatever the result, you’re definitely going to need things like crowns, implants, or worse, dentures, if the situation gets bad enough.
The path to stopping grinding depends heavily on what’s causing it. If you’re grinding your teeth due to stress, that’s probably something to see a therapist over, as you could do with some less stress. If you’re doing it unconsciously, especially while you’re sleeping, which is when it’s most common, you might want to talk to a dentist about having a night guard made. Night guards are made of a soft silicone that provides a buffer between the top and bottom sections of your mouth, kind of like a retainer. Besides all that, just try to cut back on foods that make you jittery like coffee and soda, and don’t do anything that damages your teeth like chewing on hard, non-food objects.