Does teeth grinding make it difficult to get a decent night's sleep? You're not alone. About 30 to 40 million children and adults in the United States suffer from bruxism, sometimes known as unconscious clenching or teeth grinding. Unfortunately, this can negatively affect one's general health and welfare, leading to headaches, jaw pain, TMD, and even wear down the teeth.
What Is Teeth Grinding?
A condition is known as bruxism, or teeth grinding, is characterized by teeth clenching, gnashing, or grinding. Some people clench or grind their teeth, while others experience nocturnal or sleep bruxism or teeth grinding while you're asleep.
In addition to other sleeping problems like snoring and sleep apnea, sleep bruxism is a disorder that affects how people sleep.
What Causes Bruxism?
Several factors can contribute to bruxism. They may involve genetic, psychological, and physical elements related to stress or anxiety. Additionally, bruxism can happen if a person has Parkinson's or Huntington's disease or their teeth are out of alignment. Finally, a person may also be susceptible to bruxism due to a side effect of drugs like phenothiazine or antidepressants.
A hyperactive, aggressive, competitive personality type, acid reflux, or teething pain (in children) are some additional causes of bruxism.
A mild case of bruxism might not need treatment. Additionally, it may be severe and frequent. In severe cases, one may experience jaw problems, headaches, fractured dental fillings, worn enamel, exposed dentin, and tooth sensitivity.
What Does Bruxism Feel Like?
Symptoms might not be immediately evident because bruxism occasionally occurs while you sleep. But bruxism symptoms and indicators also include:
- Grinding and clenching of teeth, often loud enough to wake others up
- Flattened, fractured, chipped, or loose teeth
- Worn enamel of the teeth
- Tooth pain or sensitivity
- Tired or tight jaw muscles or locked jaw
- Soreness of the jaw, face, and neck
- Earache-like pains
- Headaches starting from the temples
- Disrupted sleep
Consult a dentist if you experience any of the abovementioned indications or symptoms.
How To Treat Bruxism?
There are some home remedies or self-care tips that you can use to prevent or treat bruxism.
- Take a warm bath, listen to your favorite music, or exercise to help you alleviate stress before bed.
- Practice good sleeping habits.
- Avoid smoking, consuming alcohol, and drinking caffeinated beverages, especially at night, which may aggravate bruxism.
- Stretch or massage the jaw before bed.
- Drink water because dehydration can have associations with teeth grinding.
- Schedule regular dental exams to identify dental conditions. For example, the dentist can detect bruxism in the jaw and mouth with regular exams and dental visits.
Dental approaches, therapies, and medication are available to prevent further tooth damage and relieve jaw pain and discomfort from clenching and grinding teeth. In addition, splints and mouth guards may be necessary to keep teeth separate to avoid damage due to bruxism.
Splints and mouth guards are made of hard acrylic or soft material and fit over the upper or lower teeth. The chewing surfaces of the teeth may also undergo a dental repair. Crowns can also repair damage when tooth wear results in insensitivity or the inability to chew.
Management of the underlying stressors that lead to bruxism may help to relieve the dental issue. For example, learn calming techniques like meditation, or seek assistance from a therapist or counselor.
Reducing bruxism could also benefit from treating sleep disorders. If the clenching and grinding of teeth are due to side effects, changing medications may also help.
Regardless of how severe it is, finding the bruxism's root cause is essential to finding a solution.
5 Ways To Help You Stop Teeth Grinding
#1 Reduce your stress and anxiety. Many people who grind their teeth suffer from stress and anxiety, which is what causes them to grind their teeth in the first place. If this describes your situation, it is time to make some changes in your life.
You require less work and more play, or perhaps a short vacation. You may need counseling or therapy if the latter does not work for you. Relaxing teas, aromatherapy, getting more sleep, and eating better may also help with stress and anxiety.
#2 Try jaw exercises. If you do jaw exercises two to three times per day, three to six times each session (or more if necessary), they can help to relax and strengthen your jaw and stop you from grinding your teeth. Try some of the following:
- Open and close your mouth while placing your thumb under your chin.
- Relax your jaw while placing a finger right inside the mouth.
- With your thumb and index finger placed on the top of your chin, move your jaw outwards, having it push your thumb and finger outwards.
- Open and close your mouth while your tongue touches the roof of your mouth.
#3 Learn to relax your jaw and face. If you catch yourself clenching or grinding your teeth during the day, be aware of it and try to stop if you can. Perhaps giving your jaw a massage would help to relax your face and jaw muscles.
#4 Limit your sugar and caffeine intake. Caffeine and sugar may increase our existing high levels of irritability, stress, and anxiety. Consumption of these must be restricted, especially before bed. We (and our jaw) are more likely to be awake at night, even if we aren't aware of it, the more sugar and caffeine we consume.
#5 Use a mouthguard. If things get terrible, it's time for a mouthguard. Your dentist can create a custom-fit mouthguard to help relieve stress and pain.
Stop Children From Grinding Their Teeth
The signs of teeth grinding are typically extremely noticeable; some people have compared them to the sound of chewing on a rubber keyboard. Most of the time, your child may not even be conscious of what they are doing. But how can you prevent a kid from clenching their teeth at night?
Finding the source of the issue is typically the first step in most good puzzles. There are numerous causes of bruxism, often known as teeth grinding. For example, your child may have gotten into the practice of managing stress. Or perhaps their teeth are out of alignment. Knowing what causes the symptoms of teeth grinding will help you permanently resolve the issue.
If you're wondering how to prevent a youngster from grinding their teeth at sleep, here are some suggestions:
Check If Your Kid’s Bruxism Is Natural
Although most people certainly don't need reminding, it's important to state this again. Because not every incidence of bruxism necessitates therapy, this is very important. In addition, there will undoubtedly be some problems with your child's teeth aligning as their jaw grows.
Your child should eventually stop grinding their teeth while they sleep on their own once they can maintain the speed of their developing body. But how can you tell whether your child is simply grinding their teeth naturally? It typically happens if they experience no pain upon awakening. In contrast, if your child displays any of the following symptoms of teeth grinding:
- Jaw pain
- Sensitive teeth
- Chipped teeth
Then you might need to get your child's teeth examined for any further issues.
The Treatment Follows The Cause
Moving on to other probable causes requires ruling out natural jaw development first. You can't address different situations in the same way because every scenario is different. The following is a list of possible problems and solutions:
- Stress and anxiety. If your child's pediatrician or doctor diagnoses their bruxism as being stress-related, you should first look for ways to minimize this. Finding the cause of your child's stress is essential, whether it be done so through stress therapy sessions or a trip to a child psychiatrist. After that, your child might be given a workout regimen to relieve the stress on their jaw.
- Sleep apnea. Aside from teeth grinding, does your child also snore heavily at night? Sleep apnea may be the only issue. If this is the cause, you might need to ask their dentist for guidance on how to proceed with treatment. Some dentists suggest that patients see an orthodontist, who can make them a night guard to wear while they sleep. In addition to facilitating improved breathing when they sleep, the night guard. In a way that's good for their oral health, it can also assist in developing their mouth muscles.
- Malocclusion. Orthodontic treatment is typically the best option if a faulty bite brings on a person's bruxism. Once their teeth are properly aligned, whether they use braces or invisible aligners, the habit ought to disappear. If your child is too young for braces, the dentist may decide to start by giving them mouth appliances like night guards.