What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a condition defined by the grinding or clenching of your teeth. Generally, people who grind or clench their teeth do so in their sleep, oftentimes unknowingly. Dentists can tell if a patient is prone to grinding their teeth because the teeth will be worn down, broken, or cracked.
Bruxism can cause the gradual loss of tooth enamel and the smoothing of teeth. It can also lead to other side effects such as headaches, jaw pain/stiffness, and even neck or shoulder pain.
How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth
It’s never too late to prevent future teeth grinding. The wearing down of enamel from tooth grinding is like a slowly dripping faucet: It might not cause a lot of damage over a short period of time, but it can have drastic long-term effects on your oral health.
So how do you stop grinding your teeth in your sleep naturally? Let’s explore some remedies you can try.
Exercise and/or Meditate
Stress is a major risk factor for sleep or awake bruxism. Anxious thoughts cause your muscles to tighten up, including your jaw.
Regularly exercising can reduce your baseline level of stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins necessary to combat anxiety. This ultimately allows your muscles to become more naturally relaxed.
Meditation is another great method for reducing stress. Take just 10 to 15 minutes a day to meditate to train your brain to relax and lessen your general levels of anxiety. When you’re more at ease, you won’t clench your teeth as frequently.
Avoid Unnecessary Chewing
If you commonly chew gum or have a bad habit of chewing ice, your gums, or anything else that isn’t food, your brain will be trained to move those muscles more frequently while you’re awake or asleep. Cut back on those habits to tell your brain that moving your teeth together is something you are only supposed to do while you’re eating.
Cut Back On the Caffeine and Alcohol
Believe it or not, caffeine and alcohol consumption can lead to teeth clenching. Both of these stimulants can interrupt sleep patterns and lead to more tension and muscle movement. Specifically, it’s best to cut down on the coffee and alcohol at night when your quality of sleep is more likely to be impacted.
Massage Your Jaw at Night
If you’re experiencing a sore jaw as a side effect of bruxism, consider massaging your jaw muscles at night before you go to sleep. Gently massage your jaw with your fingers or with a warm washcloth to loosen the muscles in preparation for sleep. The reduction in tension will make it less likely that you will do damage to your teeth from clenching your jaw.
Invisalign is not a natural remedy for sleep bruxism, but it can help even more than many of the remedies mentioned above.
Misalignment of the teeth can result in grinding. If this is the case, Invisalign treatment will realign your teeth, giving you more natural alignment to reduce night grinding.
Additionally, Invisalign aligners serve as physical nightguards that prevent your teeth from making contact. However, if you are looking for something a bit stronger and more protective, you might want to consider a custom fit nightguard.
Get Fitted for a Nightguard
CNS Dental can help you get fitted for a nightguard that will prevent the damage that comes from grinding your teeth and wearing down your enamel. These appliances go over one arch of your teeth therefore your teeth will be grinding against the appliance and not tooth-on-tooth.
Nightguards prevent your teeth from coming together by physically separating the teeth. If you are seeking a way to provide protection from grinding or clenching, ask us about getting scanned. Scanning takes less than 10 minutes and we can have your nightguard ready within a few weeks after being scanned.
There are two types: hard-soft for severe grinders and all soft which are more comfortable and easier to get used to.
Essix Retainers for Daytime Grinding
People who grind their teeth at night usually find that they grind or clench their teeth during the daytime too. Your subconscious becomes used to grinding your teeth at night if you do it during the daytime.
In fact, you might not even notice that you grind your teeth during traffic or when sitting at your computer desk. Essix retainers are special daytime retainers that can stop your teeth from grinding together during the day time. The best part is nobody will even know you’re wearing it.
If you experience teeth grinding or any other type of dental issue, give CNS Dental a call today. Dr. Schantz and her team are licensed to provide excellent dental care, from routine cleanings to emergency dental procedures. Have questions about financing? Find out if your insurance provider is in-network with us at our financing page.