Back Off the Grind: Stop Nocturnal Bruxism
We know only too well how bad teeth grinding can be and if you currently suffer from this nightmare of a problem, we sympathize with you. However, the great news is that just by clicking and reading this article you are already closer to discovering some of the best ways to stop the discomfort and pain caused by grinding your teeth.
Teeth grinding, or nocturnal bruxism as it is also known, is a condition where you unintentionally and in a lot of cases, unconsciously grind your teeth together. It affects well in excess of a million adults and children across the world and if you suffer from this condition, you will understand just how badly it can play havoc with your life and health.
In the following article, you will get to know some really powerful and helpful tips and advice to stop you grinding your teeth. Before we bite into those though, it is best to help you understand better why you actually grind your teeth.
What Causes Teeth Grinding – Particularly At Night?
There are two main types of teeth grinding –
Daytime/Awake bruxism: Daytime bruxism is typically connected to tension, stress and anxiety
Night-time/Asleep bruxism: Night-time bruxism on the other hand is more likely connected to a chewing action related to sleep.
Although there is a wide array of different views and opinions in the medical world as to what causes teeth grinding, most suggest that it is mainly associated with anxiety and stress. Further to this though, teeth grinding has also been associated with sleeping position or style changes, problems with teeth alignment, heredity-related factors and other problems with biting.
Headaches, Migraines, Anxiety And Teeth Grinding
As well as causing the obvious issues such as the filing down of your teeth, muscular tension in your jaw, tooth sensitivity and toothache; teeth grinding can also be responsible for causing excruciatingly painful migraines and headaches. While you are grinding your teeth, your jaw is unlikely to be positioned correctly, which will make the muscles in your jaw suffer fatigue and become more susceptible to it.
As your jaw muscles use a lot of energy and strength moving your jaw, when fatigue sets in muscle contraction could occur which leads to the migraines and headaches noted above. If you grind or clench your teeth though, you are also putting yourself in danger of suffering from stiff neck muscles. This itself can trigger headaches and lead to feelings of anxiety and stress.
Sleep Apnea And Other Sleep Disorders And Teeth Grinding
Snoring and sleeping disorders like sleep apnea, where there are pauses in your breathing are other reported causes for teeth clenching and grinding. If you know your teeth grinding is related to a sleep disorder, there is a very simple 2 step plan you can follow:
Speak to a sleep disorder specialist – Arrange an appointment, or ask your general practitioner for a referral to a sleep disorder specialist so you can find out if you have sleep apnea or not and to what extent. Once you know for sure that you do suffer from sleep apnea and it is likely to be the cause of your teeth grinding, you need to make an appointment with your dentist.
Get treatment from a qualified dentist – If you want to stop suffering the painful effects of jaw clenching and teeth grinding, you need to have professional treatment from a qualified dental practitioner. It can be very helpful, because not only can you find out the best oral appliances to use such as splints and mouth guards, that can help you stop your night-time teeth grinding, you will also get great tips and advice for oral health care. Mouth guards are devices used in orthodontics that you attach to your teeth before you go to sleep at night and prevent you from grinding your teeth unconsciously. They also help to alleviate a lot of the discomfort and pain that comes from excessive clenching, tension and friction.
How To Stop Bruxism In Its Tracks
As noted earlier, it is not only sleep disorders that are considered a cause for teeth grinding; anxiety and stress are two other factors that are also thought to be responsible. The following are DIY home remedies and techniques that can help children and adults alike to stop grinding their teeth.
Arrange For Stress And Anxiety Counseling
If you discover that stress and anxiety are the main reasons why you grind your teeth, you should look for ways to manage your stress levels. Ask your medical practitioner or even your dentist for any advice they can give. It is also a good idea to participate in physical therapy sessions and exercise groups that can help alleviate stress or at least manage it better. Massage and stretching can be used to relax your muscles, releasing a lot of the tension from your body and reducing your stress.
You could also arrange to have some one on one anxiety and stress counseling. Often, your stress builds up because you feel dragged down by various pressures and responsibilities in life. Talking with someone impartial, who is not a friend or relative with a vested interest in your life, can help you to make sense of your anxiety.
Start Relaxing Your Jaw Muscles Every Night Before You Sleep
It may help to make it a habit of relaxing your muscles at night before you go to sleep. You can do this by placing a warmed piece of cloth on the side of your face. This particular method is more effective with people who grind their teeth as a result of an acute situation, such as a broken or otherwise injured jaw.
Yoga And Meditation
Meditation and stretching exercises of yoga are other ways that people often use to reduce their stress and anxiety levels. They are actually very effective when it comes to tackling teeth grinding issues. This is because not only do they lessen tension throughout the body but they also reduce muscle activity too.
Work Hard At It
To stop grinding your teeth, you need to put considerable amounts of personal effort into the process. You have to teach yourself to stop doing it – in a similar way to how muscle memory training works. Always try to make sure that the tip of your tongue sits between your teeth, as this will enable the muscles in your jaw to relax. It is also important to stop or at least reduce habits that involve you clenching your jaw, such as chewing gum.
Reduce The Amount Of Caffeine And Alcoholic Drinks You Consume
As strange as it may seem at first, there are many who believe that there is a connection between consuming caffeinated and alcoholic drinks and teeth grinding. There is evidence that shows that teeth grinding and clenching becomes more intense after these kinds of drinks have been consumed.
While it is true that caffeine does not cause teeth grinding directly, it certainly is a contributory factor that makes it worse. This is mainly because caffeine increases your awareness and alertness levels. Thus, if you are experiencing bouts of stress and anxiety already and drinking large quantities of caffeine, coffee and other drinks like it, will only heighten those feelings, leading to teeth grinding.