Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition where a person clenches or grinds teeth while sleeping or unintentionally when awake. This can lead to great discomfort and an array of issues like headache, jaw pain, tooth damage and TMJ disorder. This may happen due to high levels of stress, anxiety or even certain medications. People who clench or grind their teeth while sleeping could be doing that due to certain sleep disorders such as snoring and pauses in breathing. How to know if your bruxism is severe? You may be having damaged tooth enamel, your teeth may be chipped or lose, the intense grinding wakes you up often, tired jaw muscles, jaw pain, injury inside of your cheek, disrupted sleep are some of the symptoms of the disorder. (Also read: Apple cider vinegar: Is this popular home remedy bad for teeth? Dentist explains)
If you want to prevent jaw pain or cracked or chipped tooth, one can follow certain tips to avoid grinding of teeth at night.
To stop grinding your teeth, check out these seven options suggested by Dr Nirali Patel, Dental Surgeon & Oral Implantologist FICOI, Founder of Smile Craft Dental Studio, you could try to experience some relief.
1. Get a night time mouth guard
Constant grinding can wear down the enamel on your teeth and make them more vulnerable to cavities. Fortunately, sleeping with a mouth guard will protect your teeth. A custom-made night guard will be more comfortable than any you can buy at the store, which is one-size-fits-all and may not fit as snugly. Consistently wearing a mouth guard overnight is one of the best ways to combat sleep bruxism.
2. Start exercising
If you do not exercise, add a few sweat sessions to your weekly routine. Bruxism often results from stress or anxiety, with tension manifesting in your tooth grinding. Exercise will give you a release from that stress.
3. Relax right before bed
All the tension sitting in your jaw needs to unwind before you go to bed. Try relaxing techniques to reduce tension in your mouth, such as one or more of the following:
• 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.
4. 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.
5. Become more conscious of your clenching
You may grind your teeth all day and not recognise 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 recognise 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.
6. Stop chewing everything but food
Do you chomp on gum all day? Love chewing ice while you work? Even if your favourite vice is chewing a pen cap, you need to stop these repetitive motions, which will keep your jaw clenched.
7. Avoid chewy foods
Say goodbye to steak, popcorn and taffy on days when your bruxism has flared up. These foods require lots of chewing and will further wear out your jaw. You know you grind your teeth, or if you suspect teeth grinding may be to blame for pain or other symptoms, see a dentist. They can examine your teeth for wear to determine if you grind them. They can also look at your bite and alignment.