Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is one leading cause of broken teeth, jaw pain, and headaches, especially at night. Some of the symptoms of teeth grinding include;
• Tight muscles around the jaw and soreness.
• Increases teeth sensitivity.
• Loose chipped, cracked, or broken teeth.
• Headaches that start at the temples.
• Facial pain.
Teeth grinding can not only cause harm to your oral health but also your general health. If you are dealing with teeth grinding, there are some tips you can use to deal with it.
1. Relax and avoid stress
Stress and anxiety are among the leading causes of teeth grinding. Ensure that before going to sleep, you deal with anything that may be weighing you down. You can do that exercising, either engaging in vigorous exercises or meditative exercises like yoga.
You can also take a warm bath, use a warm wet towel or a heating pad on your jaw, drink warm tea, or massage your jaw.
You can extend the massage to your neck and the back of your head to relieve the pain related to teeth grinding. That helps relax your jaw muscles and reduce clenching. There are also some mouth exercises you can use to help relax your jaw muscles.
You can start by closing your lips slowly but ensure that your bottom and top teeth don’t touch. Then, connect the roof of your mouth with your tongue and hold that position for the longest time you can.
Alternatively, you can press your hands at the point where your lower jaw connects and slowly open your mouth. Hold it open for about 5-10 seconds, then slowly close your mouth. Do that for 10 minutes and repeat three times a day.
2. Watch what you chew
Sometimes what you chew during the day makes your jaws want to keep chewing at night. Avoid chewing on anything that is not food, like gum or your nails. Also, avoid eating hard, chewy and sticky foods that are hard to chew.
Some of those foods include tough meat, popcorns, peanut butter, hard candies, and tuffys. Chewing on them keeps your jaw clenched, which contributes to increased teeth grinding at night.
3. Be more conscious about your teeth grinding
Teeth grinding not only happens at night. It may also occur during the day, and you might not even recognize it. Try being more conscious about grinding your teeth during the day, especially when you are stressed or anxious.
Anytime you realize that you are grinding your teeth, open your mouth and let your lower jaw hang for some time. Then, bring it back to its position gently and try maintaining your jaw at a relaxed position.
4. See a dentist
Teeth grinding may be causing you a lot of discomfort or health complications, and it may not reduce no matter how hard you try. If you have tried some of the tips and don’t work, you need to see a dentist.
The dentist will examine you and identify the best treatment for you. They may recommend night guards, mandibular advancement devices, or medications.
Nightguards, also called dental splints or mouth guards, are gadgets that are made to fit over your teeth perfectly. They are made from a soft material, and they cover the teeth on the entire lower or upper jaw or just a small section of your teeth.
They are mainly meant to reduce the impact of teeth grinding on your teeth. They can also be placed in a position such that they leave your jaw slightly open to let the chewing muscles relax as you sleep.
On the other hand, mandibular advancement devices are specially fitted to bring the lower jaw forward while you sleep. These are mainly recommended if your teeth grinding is caused by a sleeping disorder.
They are also used to help manage sleep apnea and snoring. While these devices may not cure teeth grinding, they effectively manage the damage they may have to your teeth and jaws.
Your dentist may also prescribe medications to help you with your sleep disorders if they are the main cause of teeth grinding.
Before visiting a dentist, ensure they have certifications to deal with the problem, like Lemchen Salzer Orthodontics, the best orthodontist in NYC.
Teeth grinding does not reduce overnight. You have to be patient for you to see the results. Also, you have to be consistent with the different ways of dealing with it.