There are many of us are guilty of not looking after our teeth over lockdown, for me it seemed very low down in my list of priorities, even when Dentists opened up again, I felt reluctant.  I did however, have some discomfort in an area where I have a bridge on my upper teeth so the disquiet was bubbling.  Finally, after a few days of what felt like slight pain, I knew it had to be dealt with.  I can’t tell you how relieved I felt when I discovered that it was due to grinding my teeth.  Stress and anxiety was causing me to knash of a night, and that was literally causing trauma.  The answer was to be found in a decent mouthshield, I call it my ‘gummy bear’.  Mine is very small and thin and it was explained to me that the shields don’t work by covering the whole area to protect the teeth from crashing into each other, but rather to keep the jaw and mouth relaxed….Its solved my problems!

I asked this US guest writer to share this article with us.

Mouthguards are commonly thought of for teeth protection during sports. However, many people wear them in a much calmer situation, during sleep. There are two main reasons why mouthguards are necessary during the night, teeth grinding and snoring.

Teeth Grinding

Approximately 8% to 30% of adults grind their teeth at night. Many don’t realize they do this, but it can lead to headaches, jaw pain, and damages teeth. Your San Tan Valley dentist may be the first person to recognize changes in your teeth that suggest overnight grinding. There isn’t a cure for this condition, but there is treatment. Mouthguards worn at night protect teeth and help limit jaw clenching and teeth grinding. They are made of mouldable plastic custom-designed for your mouth and come in different thicknesses based on how bad you grind your teeth. Most of them will hold up for three to six months, depending on use. You only need to wear a guard on the top or the bottom teeth as one piece protects the whole mouth.

Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Being able to breathe well at night is a vital aspect of getting a good night’s sleep. For 22 million Americans, sleep apnea interrupts their ability to get quality sleep. This sleep disorder causes people to pause their breathing during sleep. Decreased breathing lowers the amount of oxygen going to the brain and puts people at higher risk for strokes and heart disease. One of the main symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring. However, not everyone who snores has this disorder. Allergies, colds and the anatomy of your sinuses also contribute to snoring sounds at night. Custom mouthguards are available for people that have a mild form of sleep apnea and snoring. These pieces are different than others available because they don’t just cover your teeth. They work by pushing your bottom jaw and tongue forward, which keeps your airway open. Some include a strap to keep your jaw in the correct alignment.

Sleeping with a mouthguard protects teeth and jaws from grinding and helps those with nighttime breathing problems. They are easy to care for with everyday brushing and rinsing with mouthwash. Most dentists and orthodontists can order these custom-fit guards during your regular check-up. If you feel that you aren’t getting good quality sleep, see if either of these conditions are the culprit. If so, a mouthguard is an easy solution for you to consider.