Grinding of the teeth, also referred to as bruxism, can have extensive consequences for your dental health. Though it is natural to at times clench your teeth, continuous grinding can cause severe damage and bring about symptoms that affect you throughout the day.
Many people are not aware that they grind their teeth because they do it at night while they sleep. According to the ADA, symptoms of bruxism include headaches, tooth wear, jaw pain and even fractured teeth. People may even indicate that they hear you grind your teeth at night. Continue reading to learn nine effective ways to stop grinding your teeth both in the daytime and at night.
How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth
There are several methods to end daytime and nighttime teeth grinding. Below we have listed nine remedies you could try today to aide in some relief.
1.) Become More Conscious of Your Clenching
You may grind your teeth all day and not recognize it. Practice mindfulness several times a day to help you relax and let go of anxiety. You will start noticing specific situations or times of day when your teeth grinding gets more pronounced. When you recognize it occurring, stop it by dropping your jaw and letting it hang for a moment. Move it gently, then try to maintain a more relaxed jaw position.
2.) Schedule Regular Dental Exams
Dental exams are the best way to identify bruxism. Your dentist can spot signs of bruxism in your mouth and jaw during regular visits and exams.
3.) Only Chew Food
Love chewing ice while you work? Even if your favorite habit is chewing on a pencil, you need to stop these repetitive motions, which will keep your jaw clenched and cause more wear on your teeth.
4.) Avoid Hard & Chewy Foods
Try to avoid hard, chewy and sticky foods such as steak, popcorn, taffy, bubble gum and caramels. These foods require a lot of chewing and will further wear your jaw out.
5.) Massage your Jaw Muscles
Can you feel your jaw clenching up throughout the day when confronting a stressful situation? If so, relax your face and give your jaw muscles a massage. Rubbing will release the tension that has built up throughout the day.
6.) Get a Nighttime Mouth Guard
Continuous grinding can wear down the enamel on your teeth and make them more susceptible to cavities and even fractures. Fortunately, sleeping with a mouth guard will protect your teeth and TMJ. Dr. Moore can fit you for a custom mouth guard that will keep your teeth safe from grinding throughout the night, and minimize the damage done to your TMJ. A custom-made guard will be more comfortable than any you can buy at the store. A store bought appliance may cause more harm. Consistently wearing a mouth guard throughout the night is one of the best ways to fight bruxism.
7.) Start Exercising Regularly
If you do not exercise, add a few workout sessions to your weekly routine. Bruxism often results from stress, with tension being a huge cause in your teeth grinding. Exercise will give you a release from the stress and hopefully lessen the tension and grinding.
8.) Relax Before Bed
All the tension sitting in your jaw needs to unravel before you go to bed. Try relaxing techniques, such as the following below:
- Take a warm bath before bed to relax your jaw muscle.
- Apply a heating pad or warm, wet towel to your jaw.
- Drink herbal, caffeine-free tea to warm up your mouth.
9.) Make lifestyle changes
Bruxism can be a side effect of using certain substances, such as tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and anxiety and depression medications. Cutting down or limiting the use of these substances may help you stop grinding your teeth.