Do you grind your teeth at night? You're not alone. Teeth grinding or bruxism can cause tooth damage, jaw pain and headaches. Luckily, there are several exercises you can do to help overcome teeth grinding.
7 Ways to Stop Grinding Your Teeth
There are many ways to stop grinding your teeth, including jaw exercises and massage, muscle relaxants, lifestyle changes, mouth guards and splints, stress and anxiety management as well as relaxation techniques. Here are seven of the most effective exercises for overcoming teeth grinding:
Jaw Exercises and Massage
The first step in overcoming teeth grinding is to loosen up the muscles in your jaw. You can do this by doing simple jaw exercises and massaging your jaw muscles.
To do a jaw exercise, open and close your mouth several times. Make sure to use a slow and steady motion while focusing on using your masseter muscles (the muscles on the sides of your jaw).
To massage your jaw muscles, use your fingers to rub the muscles in a circular motion. You can also place a warm compress on your jaw for five minutes before bed to help loosen up the muscles.
If you find that your teeth grinding is caused by tense muscles, you may need muscle relaxants to help relieve the tension. Muscle relaxants work by blocking nerve signals that cause muscle tension.
There are several different types of muscle relaxants, so be sure to talk to your doctor about which one is best for you. Muscle relaxants typically come in pills or injections and they should only be taken as prescribed by your doctor.
Treat associated disorder
If you find that you grind your teeth because of an associated disorder, such as TMJ syndrome, you may need to treat the underlying disorder. This could include things like therapy, medication and surgery.
Talk to your doctor about the best way to treat the underlying disorder, and hopefully, this will help reduce or stop your teeth grinding.
Mouth Guards and Splints
If you find that your teeth grinding is caused by a misaligned jaw, you may need to wear a mouth guard or splint to help keep your jaw in alignment. A mouthguard is a plastic device that fits over your teeth and protects them from damage. A splint is a metal or plastic device attached to your teeth that helps to keep them aligned.
Both mouth guards and splints can be purchased at most pharmacies or sporting goods stores. However, it's essential to speak with your dentist to ensure that the device is suitable for you.
Stress and Anxiety Management
If stress and anxiety are causing you to grind your teeth, you may need to take steps to manage your stress levels. This could include things like exercise, yoga, meditation and journaling.
It's also important to avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can increase stress levels. Also, make sure to get enough sleep each night - aim for at least eight hours per night.
Relax Right Before Bed
If you find that you grind your teeth when you're stressed or anxious, try relaxing right before bed. This could include reading, listening to calming music or taking a hot bath.
You may also want to practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualization exercises. These exercises can help calm your mind and body in preparation for bedtime.
Avoid Chewy Foods
If you grind your teeth when you eat, try avoiding chewy foods. These types of foods can put stress on your jaw and increase the likelihood that you'll grind your teeth.
Instead, try eating softer foods that don't require as much chewing. Make sure to take breaks while eating so that you're not putting too much stress on your jaw.
If you're struggling with teeth grinding, don't worry - there are plenty of exercises and techniques that can help. Start by trying out some of the exercises and techniques listed above. If they don't work, speak with your doctor about other options. Ultimately, with a little bit of effort, you can overcome teeth grinding and get on with your life.