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Is Your Teeth Grinding Habit Making You Look Older?

Posted by Lisa Edwards on

Does teeth grinding make you look older

Typically, we attribute wrinkles to smoking, sun damage or getting up there in age. Rarely would we consider teeth grinding as a cause of wrinkles. However, one of the main reasons for premature wrinkles around the mouth is due to a collapse in the bite caused by clenching or grinding of teeth . In fact, twice as many Americans clench and grind teeth over smoking. Even though facial muscle tone decreases as we age, this process is accelerated in patients with tooth and bone loss. This loss of tonicity causes lengthening of the lips. Since facial muscles are attached to facial bone, the bone loss severely affects these muscles and their function. The facial skin begins to sag.

The combination of a prognathic chin, sagging muscles and skin, long lips, and a large looking nose makes the individual appear prematurely aged.When the bite collapses there is a decrease in the facial muscle tone which causes the chin recess, the lips to lengthen out causing the entire face to appears tired, prematurely aged and angry.

There are some things you can do in your everyday life to prevent and slow down the aging process of your face.

Wear a Night Guard

One of the few actions you can take on your own is to buy a night guard. While there is no known cure for bruxism, you can control the damage caused by teeth grinding. The intense force of teeth grinding causes the teeth to shorten and wear down. Wearing a night guard will immediately stop the damage by dissipating the forces of grinding away from your teeth and through the night guard. It will not get to the root of the cause of bruxism, but will stop the teeth from excessive wear and can maintain the soft lines of the jaw by keeping the muscles from being overworked.

Choose foods wisely

Much like clenching and grinding, there are certain foods that are considered a part of a healthy lifestyle that wear teeth down and can age someone considerably.

  • Almonds/Nuts
    A current trend in the health industry is eating whole almonds as a source of heart-healthy fats, protein and vitamins. Crunchy foods that need a lot of pressure to break down do this. Because whole almonds are so hard, the teeth need a lot of pressure to break down the almond and can actually chip or fracture teeth. A less damaging alternative would be sliced or slivered almonds.
  • Citrus Fruits
    Citrus fruits are high in acids which can cause enamel erosion. Once tooth enamel erodes, it cannot grow back. . This leaves the tooth vulnerable and without its main source of protection.

  • Peanut Butter
    While a healthy option to turn to for satisfying the sweet tooth, peanut butter is sticky. When food sticks to our teeth, the accumulation of sugars can lead to plaque buildup, tooth decay and gum disease.

  • Dried Fruits
    Dried bananas, oranges, or apples contain sugars remain, and those sugars that stick to the teeth causing plaque and lead to tooth decay.

  • Coffee
    Although found to be less acidic than many other common beverages, like fruit juices, sodas, and energy drinks, coffee was not shown to weaken tooth enamel. However, the downside to coffee is that it stains teeth which can lead to plaque buildup that carries enamel damaging bacteria.

It is important to brush after eating these foods and wash down with water. For more information on foods that can damage your teeth, click here.

Do not bite your nails

Although less common after 18 years, studies show 45% of teenagers bite their nails and the habit can continue into adulthood. Like teeth grinding, they are often unaware that they are doing it. The two leading causes for nail biting are stress and boredom. Not only is nail biting a bad habit, it can cause poor alignment, weakened and significant wear to the front teeth. Worn down front teeth can significantly age a person. Some measures you can take are to Coat your nails with a bitter-tasting nail biting polish, Keep nails trimmed short, likely to bite them, try yoga meditation, deep breathing, or squeezing a stress ball to relax you.

Visit your Dentist:

Routine check ups can could do more than just impact the health of your teeth -- it could peel over a decade off your face. Follow these tips for a more youthful YOU!