Why Do You Grind Your Teeth And How To Stop?
Teeth Grinding is a condition where one clenches or gnashes his/her teeth together. This occurs mostly during sleep but it can also happen during the day. It is also known as bruxism. But why do people grind their teeth?
Grinding teeth during sleep is mostly caused by an abnormal bite, breathing airway issues, sleep apnea, jaw posture positions, tooth position, dental work that caused a change in the position of the jaw or tooth, trauma, lifestyle activities, repetitive strain or emotional and developmental issues.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
Most people who grind their teeth during sleep are most likely suffering from sleep disorder such as snoring or sleep apnea. Stress and anxiety can also cause sleep bruxism.
Regular and persistent teeth grinding can cause health problems such as jaw pain, loose teeth, cracked and broken teeth, gum recession, loss of teeth structure, or tooth sensitivity.
As mentioned earlier sleep disorders such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may cause teeth grinding. The relationship between the two has not been fully understood yet. You are also likely to experience teeth grinding if:
What Are The Effects Of Teeth Grinding?
When you grind your teeth during sleep you are likely to disrupt your sleep as well as that of your partner. You will also wake up having a headache and jaw pains as well. Ear ache is also evident in some cases. This means you will have poor quality of sleep. This affect your day negatively since you will be feeling sleepy and with all the pain it will also be uncomfortable.
How To Stop Grinding Teeth
Use Of Mouth Guards
These are coverings that are worn over the teeth to protect them from injury due to grinding of teeth. An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, durable and easy to clean. You should also be able to breath and talk even when you have it on. They come in different types which you can find on amazon such as:
The Nocturnal Bite Plate Or Bite Splint
This is a special mouth guard type of dental appliance for those who grind teeth during sleep.
Stock Mouth Protectors
They come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and have little room for adjustment. They are bulky and in most cases make breathing and talking difficult. Dentists do not recommend these in most cases.
Boil And Bite Mouth Protectors
These offer a better fit. They are made of thermoplastic material which is placed in hot water to soften and then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure.
Boil And Bite Mouth Protectors
These are custom made for an individual. They are made in a dental office or professional lab according to the dentist’s instructions.
Manage Your Stress
Stress is a major contributor to teeth bruxism. It is important to take measures that will help you deal with your daily stressors. You can choose to meditate, exercise, talking to someone or therapy. Make sure you go to bed feeling relaxed and with clear a mind.
Do Not Eat Or Drink Right Before Bed
Dr. Mehta says that even a bedtime snack such as cookies and milk will increase the chances of teeth grinding. It is important to avoid eating and drinking minutes before you go to bed. In most cases, avoid taking alcohol late at night as much as possible.
Relax Your Jaws
It is important to keep your jaw relaxed at all times. Facial relaxation should be an everyday habit to ensure that you do not grind your teeth. You can choose to have a reminder such as a phone or watch beep to check on your jaw and facial tension. Try to keep the jaw relaxed at all timed.
Unwind Before You Go To Bed
Working up to the last minute before going to bed is not recommended. Take time to relax. You can also have some relaxing exercises. This will help you to lower the intensity and frequency of teeth grinding. This should take 30 to 60 minutes for best results.
Practice Good Sleeping Habits
Have a sleep schedule that guides you when going to sleep. You can also have a sleep ritual. Ensure your sleeping environment is conducive. Get treated for ant sleep disorders or take up lifestyle changes that can counter them. This may go a long way to stop teeth grinding.
Check Your Medication
Some medications have side effects that cause teeth grinding. Take time to talk to your doctor on any medications that you are taking if you notice you are grinding your teeth.
If the cause of teeth grinding is your dental problem the doctor can choose to correct it. The doctor can recommend oral surgery or braces. The chewing surface can also be reshaped or the use of crowns.
Note that grinding teeth is hard to diagnose. You have to check for the symptoms when you wake up or get help from your sleep partner. It is difficult to know that you grind teeth on your own and it requires close attention. When you wake up with a dull and constant headache, sore jaw, sensitive teeth, inflammation on the gum. Wound on the inside of the cheek, it is important to visit the doctor.
Teeth grinding during sleep is majorly caused by sleep disorders as we have seen in the article above. Make sure these are treated first to see if there is change. lifestyle changes to manage stress have also been mentioned. It is good to try them first before looking for medication. Remember that night guards are useful as well.
Some tips that could help are:
- Do not let your teeth touch when your mouth is closed.
- Avoid using ice to relive pain, but rather use a warm washcloth on the face.
- Take up regular jaw and facial relaxation exercises.
- Avoid calcium and magnesium supplements.
- Avoid chewing on non-foods during the day.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share them with us. Any additional tips are also helpful for those suffering from teeth grinding.