How To Stop Grinding Teeth?
Bruxism, or teeth clenching, gritting or grinding, is a very common disorder. It affects both children and adults. Bruxism is a habit that is extremely difficult to re-condition. This is due to the fact that once the initial trigger disappears, the grinding problem frequently does not.
If your bruxism is brought on by an increase in stress, for instance, your clenching or grinding can become so ingrained that it persists even after you reduce your stress levels.
If this becomes the case, you will need treatment and assistance to address the problem.
How you can stop clenching and grinding your teeth.
1 – Research the causes of bruxism!
Before we discuss some of the ways in which a person can control or even cure bruxism, let’s examine the conditions that cause it. The main causes of bruxism are listed here:
▪ Stress – Stress is commonly linked to teeth grinding, and is the number one cause of bruxism in females. It has actually been recorded that teeth grinding cases have increased since the recession. Those who experience a strong, negative reaction to stress have a greater risk of developing bruxism.
▪ Certain Medications – Some anti-depressant medications can induce bruxism, as can the illegal drug known as Ecstasy.
▪ Diet – A diet high in caffeine, alcohol and sugar is likely to disrupt your sleep patterns, which can cause teeth grinding in some individuals.
▪ Dental Misalignment – Sometimes, teeth that are misaligned can cause mixed nerve impulses. This leads to the contraction of certain muscle groups, which causes bruxism.
We strongly recommend that you study all of the emotional, physical and mental causes of teeth grinding.
For more information, please read our article on the Causes of Teeth Grinding.
2 – Put an end to further damage! Purchase a good mouth guard.
Occlusal splints or guards (commonly known as mouth guards, bite plates or night guards) are just like the protective mouth guards used for sport, except that many of them are molded for a custom fit. They protect teeth from damage, which can include chipping, breaking and loosening of teeth. If you do not attend to your bruxism habit, you can cause yourself serious and expensive dental damage. Don’t delay! Save your teeth with a mouth guard.
For more information, see our Top Ten Mouth Guards.
3 – Use a Biofeedback Headband
Many individuals have broken their bruxism habit by using a method known as biofeedback. Biofeedback uses the principle of classical, or Pavlovian, conditioning. It trains a subject to relax their jaw muscles at will. The biofeedback headband emits a small beep, which conditions these responses and grants some control over muscle activity that is normally involuntary. Basically, using the headband over time addresses the root cause of your bruxism habit, which is how you respond to and mitigate stress.
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4 – Find an appropriate treatment method
Bruxism does not have just one cure or solution. As with anything, there are a host of treatment methods and books on the market, all claiming to cure the condition. Our website has already sorted through all of these for you, and we only promote those which have a successful track record. The most popular treatments for bruxism are detailed below:
Popular Bruxism Treatments
▪ Proper Sleep – Quality sleep goes a long way towards solving problems with teeth grinding. Several clinical studies have concluded that better sleep correlates with a reduction in teeth grinding. Ensure that your mattress is of good quality, and that you keep your bedroom at an appropriate temperature.
▪ Bruxism Exercises – Here are some exercises specifically designed to alleviate bruxism-related muscle tension. They will also prevent your habit from worsening:
1. Tongue exercise – If you find you grind your teeth during the daytime, and perhaps at work, experts recommend that you instill a different habit instead. This will impair the impulse to clench. The following tongue exercise is simple to execute and will help to achieve this: Place your tongue tip on the roof of the mouth at the front, like you are going to say, “nnn”. It is virtually impossible to clench your jaws when the tongue is in this position. Set a reminder on your mobile phone to encourage you to do this many times throughout the day. Soon, it will become an automatic habit, replacing your teeth grinding.
2. Yawning exercises – If the muscles of your jaw feel contracted or cramped, try yawning several times. If you do this gently, it can stretch and release tight muscles.
Continued below are more treatment methods that have been found to get results:
3. Massaging the jaw – For stronger pain, try to massage the jaw joints. You can accomplish this with gentle pressure in a circular motion. Be sure that you don’t clench your jaw during a massage. You will have greater results if you try this under warm water during a shower, as the added heat also encourages the muscles to release.
4. Chinese acupressure point – Apply nine rounds of gentle, circular pressure to the point that lies between the eyebrows. This is traditionally believed to release tension in the muscles of the face and jaw.
5. Oil massage – Adding oils to your massage routine can also help to numb and soothe areas of tension and irritation. Essential oils with stimulating and warming properties include cinnamon, lavender and rosemary oil. Dilute a few drops in a carrier oil such as almond oil, and massage it into your jaw with gentle, circular pressure.
6. Warm compresses – Applying a facecloth that has been soaked in hot (not boiling) water is an effective method of soothing pain and tension. Simply hold the cloth against your jaw until it cools, and then repeat.
7. ‘Natural biofeedback’ – Try asking your sleeping partner to shake you gently and wake you up if they notice you grinding your teeth in your sleep. Once awake, go to the bathroom and make sure your bedclothes and pajamas are totally comfortable. Although this method will interrupt your sleep, it removes some of the most common causes of bruxism: a need to visit the bathroom and uncomfortable clothing or sheets. If these things are indeed causing you to grind your teeth, your episodes will rapidly diminish once your partner starts waking you up to address them.
8. Nasal obstruction – Some people have managed to reduce bruxism by obstructing some of the airflow in the nostrils. Some do this by placing tape with two little holes punched in it over the nostrils. Others use a nasal plug or even a little bit of tissue. As this method forces you to breathe with your mouth, it serves to release the jaw and prevent clenching. This is a controversial treatment method, however, as it has certain associated risks. Do NOT attempt this if you have consumed alcohol prior to sleeping, have a cold, or if you have any other general difficulties with breathing. Speak to a health professional before using this method.
9. Taste-based method – This involves a foul-tasting capsule that is placed inside the mouth. When you clench or grind your teeth, the capsule breaks and releases the nasty taste into your mouth. It is basically aversion therapy for teeth grinding!
10. Daily Plan – Many health professionals suggest that you devise a daily plan, incorporating elements from several of the treatment methods discussed above.
11. NTI-TSS System – One new device that treats bruxism is known as the NTI-TSS (TSS = Tension Suppression System). It is a small appliance designed to fit over the top incisors, preventing contact between them. This decreases muscle tension. So far, this device is only available from licensed physicians and dentists.