Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a common problem for many people at night. It is something that happens completely subconsciously and will start as clenching of the jaw. You might not see bruxism as a huge deal because you are sleeping anyway, but it can cause more issues than you realise. Not only can it be annoying for anybody that you might be sharing a bed with; it can also lead to jaw issues, problems in biting, and severe wear and tear of the teeth. If you or someone you know is teeth grinding at night, some of the following can be tried to stop and deal with it.
How to stop bruxism at night
- Limit alcohol and caffeine
Studies have shown that consuming a lot of alcohol and caffeine increases bruxism, so avoiding them as much as possible can reduce bruxism and make you healthier too!
- Avoid chewy foods
Foods that are tricky to chew and things like gum can irritate your teeth and can increase teeth grinding at night, so be sure to be careful with these kinds of things.
- Stop chewing other things
Habits that involve biting things can often translate to other areas of your life, including bruxism. It is so important that you stop biting your nails, biting pen lids, and even something as simple as tearing open packaging with your teeth. You should only use your teeth to chew and eat food, which is a habit you really need to get into if you want to work towards stopping teeth grinding.
Tongue and jaw exercises
The following exercises relax the jaw, which can help prevent bruxism, so they are definitely worth giving a try in your daily life!
- Open your mouth wide and put your tongue against your front teeth in order to relax the jaw.
- Say the letter “N” out loud, slowly and repeatedly.
- Gently massage the sides of your jaw on a regular basis to help relax the jaw muscles.
Reducing stress in your life
For most people, the CAUSE of bruxism is stress, therefore if you reduce the stress, you reduce the teeth grinding. This might be easier said than done, but some relaxing methods could definitely put you a step in the right direction. This could include meditation, yoga, therapy, exercise, and a warm bath before you go to bed at night. In addition to these relaxing methods, take a look at what is causing you the stress in life and try to fix the root problem.
Mouth guards or splints
You can buy mouth guards, and splints that were specially created with bruxism in mind. They act as a kind of cushion inside your mouth that stops you from being able to grind your teeth. You can purchase basic mouth guards at pharmacies, but a custom-made one can be more effective because the manufacturer customizes it to match your specific needs.
The most important thing to remember with bruxism is that it is a very common concern and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Practice the tips that have been mentioned, but if nothing improves, a trip to your doctor might be necessary!