Too late is when the teeth are worn, have started breaking and fracturing, or the jaw joint is painful.
The culprit is grinding, bruxing or clenching. "We see the effects when patients have been under significant stress - during college finals, the holidays or when work deadlines are looming," Dr. Ko adds.
To help with the habit you can:
1. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both seem to increase grinding patterns.
2. Stop chewing on things that are not food.
3. Be present in your life. Notice during your day if you are clenching or grinding. If you find you are, reposition the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This trains your muscles to relax.
4. Have your dentist fit you with a custom made mouth guard. This will protect your teeth while you are asleep.
Of course, reducing your stress may also help!