Teeth grinding is a fairly common occurrence that results when people clench their teeth and gnash them together in a grinding motion. Many people do this during the day, either subconsciously or as a habit. Sleep teeth grinding, however, occurs when people grind their teeth at night. It is just as common, though it has the potential to become more problematic. While grinding your teeth on occasion is not a cause for concern, the repeated or habitual grinding of your teeth can lead to a variety of complications. When people grind their teeth at night, they do so in their sleep and are not aware of it. Prolonged, unconscious teeth grinding is where issues often arise. Here are ways to stop the grinding your teeth.
Wear a night guard
Your dentist can custom fit you for a night guard, which is an appliance that fits over your top teeth, is made from plastic or acrylic, and is worn while you sleep. Though it won’t stop you from grinding, it protects your teeth.
Whether you opt for a major sweat session or just a stroll, working out helps alleviate stress, which is a common cause of bruxism or teeth grinding.
Take a warm bath before bed
Warm water can help relax your jaw muscles right before you turn in. If you don’t like baths, soak a washcloth in warm water, wring it out, and apply it to your jaw. A heating pad can also do the trick, though moist heat is best because it penetrates better.
Since anxiety is a major force behind grinding, try to unwind and relieve stress just before bedtime. Hitting the hay when you’re calm can reduce grinding.
Learn new habits
It is possible to grind or clench during the day. So try to be aware of your mouth—keep your lips closed but teeth apart. Teeth should only touch when you’re chewing or swallowing. Whenever you feel your jaw clenching, drop your jaw down, feel the muscles relax, and then try to maintain that position.
Give yourself a massage
A rubdown helps the rest of your body relax, and it works the same way for your jaw muscles—gently rub them when you’re feeling tense.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Grinding may get worse after drinking alcohol or caffeine. So skip that glass of wine or cup of coffee in the evening.
Don’t chew anything besides food
Gnawing on pens or pencils or similarly, hard items can enable your jaw muscles to get used to clenching, making you more likely to grind your teeth.
Avoid chewy foods
Keep gum, steak, popcorn, and other chewy foods to a minimum when you’ve been grinding your teeth. This will ease soreness and give your jaw a break.
By Damilola Faustino