Does everyone who grinds their teeth need to wear a mouth guard?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A mouth guard is one treatment option, especially if the grinding is causing damage to the teeth. However, not everyone who grinds their teeth requires treatment. Watch the animation to learn more about mouth guards and other treatments for tooth grinding.

If grinding takes place infrequently then a nightguard is not necessary. However, if the frequency increases to a few times a week or more then it is important to protect the teeth, jaw joints, and jaw muscles. The damage that takes place from grinding is preventable with a nightguard. Once the damage is done to teeth it can be costly to restore. It is less costly to wear a nightguard. Also, even after restoring the damaged teeth you will most likely still have to wear a nightguard to protect the restorations.

If you grind your teeth at night, you should consider protecting them with a night guard, which can be custom-fitted by your dentist. If you don't use a mouth guard, you run the risk of wearing down or cracking your teeth, or causing your gums to recede. Some researchers have used biofeedback to help stop tooth grinding, or devices that wake you up at night when you start to grind your teeth. So far, these preventive techniques remain experimental.
Wearing a mouth guard at night can help in treating and preventing teeth grinding while sleeping. There are also other treatment methods. If stress is the cause you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.

If the cause is due to teeth that are painful or loose or fractured teeth, see your dentist. A mouthguard will not correct these problems.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.