Grinding teeth or bruxism is an unconscious habit most humans have. Find out home remedies to stop clenching teeth before things get serious. 

What is Teeth Grinding?

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is the involuntary clenching, grinding, or gnashing of teeth. It can happen during sleep (nocturnal bruxism) or while awake (awake bruxism). Occasional It is normal and usually doesn’t cause any problems. It can damage your teeth, jaw, and muscles.

Types of Teeth Grinding

I am seeing something. Wait, let me make a guess. You are currently hunched over your screen, your teeth are clenched, and your eyes are squeezed because you are concentrating very hard. Am I right? 

This is how grinding teeth or the bruxism habit sets in. The clenching slowly evolves into continuous clenching and grinding.Katayoun Omrani, an orofacial pain specialist at the Cedars-Sinai Pain Center in Los Angeles, says that there are only two types of bruxism:

Awake Bruxism

What causes awake bruxism? You are awake. You are experiencing nervousness, stress, anxiety, depression, frustration, or anger. You need something to bite to feel safe. There are no pencils or edibles nearby. Therefore, you begin clenching your teeth, biting your tongue or cheeks, or bracing your jaws unconsciously while you are awake. You realize you are doing it yet you are unable to stop it.

Sleep Bruxism

What causes sleep bruxism? A hectic day, disturbed sleep, stimulating substances (smoking, alcohol, and drugs), and irregular sleep patterns can cause sleep bruxism. People clench or grind their teeth hard enough to wake up with a sore jaw in the morning.

Long-term intake of antidepressants and other medications are also factors of teeth grinding. The study published in the Neurology Clinical Practice conducted a systematic review and found grinding teeth to be a side effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 

What Are the Symptoms of Teeth Grinding?

According to the Mayo Clinic, one out of three adults experience awake bruxism. While one out of ten adults experiences sleep bruxism. The common symptoms of grinding teeth are:

  • Tooth sensitivity even without cavities. (This can be solved only by getting a root canal.)
  • Weak and receding gums.
  • Chipped or flattened teeth.
  • Temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder 
  • Headaches, earaches, facial pain.
  • Sore jaws and neck muscles.
  • Disturbed sleep for your partner and you. (Sleep teeth grinding can be really loud.)

How to stop Grinding Teeth in sleep naturally?

Reduce Stress and Anxiety:

Since stress and anxiety are common triggers for teeth grinding, relaxation techniques can be helpful. Consider:

Meditation or deep breathing exercises: These practices can help calm your mind and body before bed, promoting relaxation throughout the night.
Warm bath or shower: Soaking in warm water can help loosen tight muscles and prepare you for sleep.
Light stretches or yoga: Gentle stretches focusing on the jaw, neck, and shoulders can release tension before bed.

Dietary Adjustments:

Limit caffeine and alcohol: These substances can act as stimulants and worsen teeth grinding. Avoid them, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Avoid hard foods: Chewing on hard candy, nuts, or other crunchy foods can strain your jaw muscles. Opt for softer foods in the evening.
Magnesium intake: Some studies suggest a link between magnesium deficiency and bruxism. Include magnesium-rich foods in your diet like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Consult a doctor before taking magnesium supplements.

Relaxation Techniques for the Jaw:

A warm compress or ice pack: Applying a warm compress on your jaw muscles before bed can promote relaxation. Alternatively, a cold compress can help reduce pain or inflammation if you’re already experiencing jaw discomfort.
Mouth exercises: Certain jaw exercises can help strengthen and stretch the muscles involved in chewing, potentially reducing tension and teeth grinding.

Sleep Hygiene Practices:

Regular sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at consistent times helps regulate your sleep cycle and may reduce teeth grinding.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Wind down before bed with calming activities like reading or listening to calming music. Avoid screen time for at least an hour before sleep.
Supportive pillow: A comfortable pillow that properly supports your head and neck can improve sleep quality and potentially reduce teeth grinding.

How to Stop Grinding Teeth?

Treatment for awake bruxism is simple:

  • Remind yourself from time to time to stop clenching your teeth.
  • Ask people to notify you if they see you grinding your teeth.
  • Learn to manage your stress, anger, depression, or any other triggers leading to teeth clenching.
  • Avoid smoking, and consuming alcohol or drugs.
  • Change your diet if foods trigger teeth clenching.

Treatment for sleep bruxism is tricky because people are usually unaware of the condition until the damage is done. Here are a few tips you could follow if you suspect sleep teeth grinding:

  • Wear bite splints or night guards to sleep.
  • Exercise, meditate, or do yoga to relax.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol, drugs, or smoking right before bed.
  • Create a healthy sleep cycle.
  • Massage facial muscles, neck, and shoulders before going to bed.

If nothing works, get professional help immediately. Doctors usually prescribe muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, or any other medication to prevent bruxism. They can also insist you lay off or swap medications if they suspect bruxism as a side effect.

The bottom line is there is no permanent cure for bruxism. Treatments are only for reducing the pain and further complications.

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Ashley completed her degree with nutrition as her major. She loves sharing her knowledge with others and playing with words. After struggling for almost a year to find a job that could make her feel lively, she ended up as a freelance writer. Ashley writes health-related blogs and articles. She makes sure that her works always stand unique and are useful for everyone. Ashley is also a YouTuber who shares health-related videos. She knows the value of the right information and how it can be beneficial to others. Therefore, her only motto is to provide accurate information. If Ashley sounds like that neighbor who you can ask for health tips, take a look at her works.