Teeth grinding is the worst – but the good thing is that you're one step closer to discovering the best ways for you to stop the pain and discomfort of teeth grinding by reading this article!
Also known as nocturnal bruxism, teeth grinding is a condition in which individuals unintentionally grind their teeth together and it currently affects millions of children and adults all over the world. In order for you to stop grinding your teeth in your sleep, it's best to understand the facts before we learn the solutions.
What causes teeth grinding in sleep
There are two types of teeth grinding – awake or daytime bruxism and sleep or night time bruxism. Awake bruxism is associated with anxiety, stress and tension, while sleep bruxism is associated with sleep-related chewing action. Although medical practitioners present diverse views with respect to causes of teeth grinding, they attribute it mainly to stress and anxiety. Even so, teeth grinding is also attributed to biting problems, heredity factors, misaligned teeth, changes in sleeping style or sleeping position.
Teeth clenching, headaches and anxiety
Not only does teeth grinding cause tooth pain, tooth sensitivity, tension on your jaw muscles and filing down of teeth, it can also trigger painful tension headaches and migraines. When grinding your teeth, the jaw is likely to be inaccurately positioned, making the jaw muscles prone to fatigue. This is because the muscles use a lot of strength to facilitate the movement of the jaw. When this happens, muscle contraction occurs, leading to headaches and migraines. What's more, individuals who clench or grind their teeth are at a high risk of developing stiff neck muscles. This is another factor that can spark headaches and lead to pangs of anxiety.
How to stop grinding teeth at night
Sleep related disorders such as sleep apnea (pauses in breathing) and snoring are one of the causes of jaw clenching and teeth grinding. If sleep related disorders are the major cause of your teeth grinding, you can seek out a simple two-step plan:
1. Consulting a sleep specialist
The first step is to see a sleep specialist to get a full diagnosis for sleep apnea, should you have it. Once it is established that sleep apnea is the cause of teeth grinding, it's time to make a visit to a qualified dentist.
2. Consulting a dental professional
Seeking treatment from a dental professional is an important second step in order to alleviate the painful symptoms of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. In this step, consulting a dentist to get oral appliances like the best mouth guards and splints can be a huge help to stop grinding your teeth while you sleep. For example mouth guards, orthodontic devices fixed in the mouth at night, are responsible for eliminating subconscious teeth grinding. These oral appliances also help ease pain and discomfort that follow from too much friction, tension and clenching.
How to stop bruxism easily
Apart from sleep related disorders, teeth grinding is caused by other factors such as stress and anxiety. The following techniques and home remedies can help naturally prevent teeth grinding in both adults and children:
1. Seek stress counselling services
As mentioned earlier on, one of the major causes of teeth grinding is high levels of stress. If stress is singled out as the reason behind your teeth grinding problem, seek the help of your dentist or a medical practitioner on ways to manage stress. For example, engaging in exercise programs and attending physical therapy sessions may be some options to help manage stress. Exercises ranging from stretching to massage therapy can help relax the muscles.
2. Make it a habit to relax your jaw muscles at night
To do this, place a warm piece of cloth on the side of your face. This method proves to be effective for individuals whose teeth grinding is caused by an acute situation as opposed to those experiencing long-term teeth grinding. An acute situation in this case means an injured jaw.
3. Meditation and yoga
Yoga and meditation are other tactics that are used to lower stress levels in individuals. They are very viable methods when it comes to reducing teeth grinding. This is because they play a role in lessening tension as well as muscle activity throughout the entire body.
4. Put in personal effort
You have to teach yourself to refrain from teeth grinding – like muscle memory training. Try to ensure the tip of your tongue is between your teeth as a way of enabling relaxation of your jaw muscles. Also, reduce gum chewing and other habits that make you clench.
5. Reduce your intake of alcoholic drinks and caffeine
It is believed that teeth grinding is aggravated by the consumption of alcoholic drinks or drinks containing caffeine. Teeth grinding has shown to become more intense after having these types of drinks. Although caffeine does not directly cause teeth grinding, it contributes to making it worse. This is because caffeine increases your alertness and awareness level.
Overcoming teeth grinding demands careful assessment by a dentist. This should be followed by a customised treatment plan that is in line with the needs of the specific individual suffering from teeth grinding. Now that you are aware of the common solutions, here's to a tense-free night's sleep!
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