If you wake up with headaches, earaches, or neck or facial pain, you may be unconsciously grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw in the night. Stress, sleep deprivation or misalignment of teeth may be the culprit for this condition known as sleep bruxism. Over time, this sleep-time behavior can wear down your teeth, cause tooth fractures, damage tooth enamel or aggravate temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Your dentist can diagnose sleep bruxism at your next dental visit and may recommend wearing a night-time mouth guard to protect your teeth as you sleep. I use a night guard myself and can attest to the good health benefits.
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