It likely comes as no surprise that teeth grinding — which is also known as bruxism — is not good for your teeth. Grinding your teeth puts an enormous amount of pressure on them and can lead to undue wear. If you have crowns or fillings, teeth grinding can damage those to the point that they will need to be replaced. It can crack your teeth and make your gums swollen.
People who have been grinding their teeth for a number of years may even have other physical symptoms such as headaches, sinus pain and neck and shoulder stiffness. They probably do not get good, quality sleep either.
There are ways to stop grinding your teeth. Let’s take a look at some of them.
How to Stop Grinding Teeth in Sleep Naturally
You may think that there’s nothing you can do about grinding your teeth in your sleep. Before seeking medical treatment for teeth grinding, you can try the following natural ways to help stop this behavior.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Often sleep grinding is caused by stress which manifests itself into nighttime teeth grinding. Getting in a good workout several times a week can help you release some of that stress, and you might find that it reduces the teeth grinding.
Start a Bedtime Routine
Relaxing before you go to bed can help eliminate teeth grinding. The best way to do this is to have a nighttime routine that will help you unwind and provide a signal to your body that it’s time to rest. Experts suggest staying away from screens for at least an hour before going to bed. Other techniques that might help you relax include taking a warm bath, listening to meditation music, or having a cup of chamomile tea.
Massage Your Jaw Muscles
If you notice that your jaw starts to clench during the day, relax your muscles and massage your jaw. Rubbing will release the tension that is starting to build up, and this could help reduce the teeth grinding in your sleep naturally.
Although most people grind their teeth in their sleep, you might be unaware that you are doing it throughout the day. If you practice mindfulness several times throughout the day and try to let go of anxiety, this could help your jaw relax. Make a note of certain situations that seem to lead to teeth grinding throughout the day, and try to fully relax your jaw during those times.
Chew Nothing But Food
If you are a gum or ice chewer, you might want to skip it and stick to food only. Habitual chewing — even if it’s just a pen cap — is a repetitive motion that can keep your jaw tense which may lead to teeth grinding.
For many people, drinking alcohol can intensify nighttime teeth grinding. A 2013 study of twins found that Increasing alcohol intake raised the risk for weekly teeth grinding.
Watch What You Eat
If you have a sore jaw or headache from a bruxism flare-up, you might want to skip chewy foods or foods that are bad for your teeth such as taffy, steak and popcorn. Foods that require a lot of chewing or are sticky will probably add to your discomfort.
Other Ways to Treat Teeth Grinding
If you know or think you might be grinding your teeth in your sleep, visit your dentist to talk about treatment before you damage your teeth and your health. Your dentist can talk to you about options including the use of a custom-made mouthguard. Wearing a mouthguard while you sleep can protect your teeth from damage due to teeth grinding. A mouthguard will provide a level of protection while you deal with the stress or tension in your life that is causing the teeth grinding in the first place.
Don’t Put Off Bruxism Treatment
Teeth grinding can put your good oral health and your overall well-being at risk. So, don’t put off treatment. Book an appointment with West Coast Dental today.
International Journal of Prosthodontics – “Bruxism: Is There an Indication for Muscle-Stretching Exercises?”
Bruxism Diagnosis and Treatment – Bruxism (teeth grinding)
Dental Health and Teeth Grinding – Dental Health and Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Sleep Foundation – Bedtime Routines for Adults