4 Tips On How To Stop Grinding Your Teeth In Your Sleep

Everyone wants to wake up feeling well-rested and refreshed. Unfortunately, we don’t always get that. For some people, their grinding teeth rob them of a good night’s sleep. Known medically as bruxism, grinding of the teeth during sleep affects 15-40% of kids and 8-10% of adults. Besides ruining the quality of your sleep, this disorder negatively impacts your dental health. It can also cause pain in your neck, jaw, and mouth. That’s more than enough motivation to use these 4 tips to stop bruxism.

1. Habit Adjustments

Most of us are creatures of habit. We have a tight, daily routine that somewhat defines us. This ranges from what we do to where we go. Admittedly, some habits are more harmful than others, but managing them is what helps us negate or nullify those harmful effects.

We’ll first focus on lifestyle habits. Those who drink and smoke are twice as likely to suffer from bruxism compared to the average person. This means that you would need to cut down on drinking alcohol, caffeinated drinks (energy drinks, tea, coffee, etc.), and smoking cigarettes. Since bruxism is associated with substances that cause poor sleep, managing these will help stop it.

Additionally, you will also need to adopt a new eating habit. You should avoid hard and chewy foods. Hard foods require more effort to eat, thus causing your jaws to clench harder. Chewy foods cause you to chew a lot, and that repetitively reinforces the clenching action. Both groups could include items like candy, steak, taffy, and even popcorn. These might be some of your favorite foods, but hold fast; avoiding them will do wonders for your dental health. And if you require dental care, do consider scaling services by dentists alhambra.

2. Protective Dental Devices

Protective dental devices are a godsend for most people. Since snoring is linked to teeth grinding, it can be a problem for who you sleep with. So, in addition to treating bruxism, these devices treat snoring as well.

Mouthguards are the most popular protective dental devices around. When it comes to protecting your dental health, mouthguards work well for teeth grinding and can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. Also known as occlusal splints, these mouthguards come in two plates and can be either custom-made or one-size-fits-all. Once you have them in, they work by lightening jaw tension and protecting the teeth from damage.

Alternatively, mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are also used to treat grinding teeth. They work by moving the mandible forward during sleep. Though they aren’t as popular as mouthguards, they’re usually used when other sleeping disorders are present.

3. Massage And Exercise

Stress can be one of the factors that make you grind your teeth in your sleep. As you go through your day, the tension in your muscles persists throughout the night. This results in clenching and grinding as you sleep. It’s not always easy to de-stress, but there are ways to reduce and manage stress. These include relaxation techniques, massage, and regular exercise.

Relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing are known to reduce stress and stop bruxism. Most of these can be practiced throughout the day but are critical before bed. You can also massage your jaw and neck to help relax the muscles in that area. This will decrease clenching and tension. When it comes to exercises, there are two types you can focus on, full-body exercises and mouth exercises. Both achieve the same result: releasing tension from the muscles with the added benefit that regular exercise contributes to better sleep.

4. Corrective Procedures

Sometimes protective dental devices aren’t enough. What should you do then? In certain cases, bruxism is caused by misaligned or missing teeth. When your top and lower teeth don’t fit together easily or perfectly, this can cause compulsive clenching and grinding. This wears down your teeth and furthers the misalignment — a perpetual cycle.

If your dentist determines that this is the reason you grind your teeth in your sleep, then they will recommend corrective procedures; depending on the severity, your dentist may recommend braces or surgery. Braces will gradually realign your teeth while easing tension. When the misalignment doesn’t originate in the teeth, jaw surgery would be the next solution.

About Teeth Grinding

Involuntary clenching of the jaw, grinding of the teeth, or gnashing of the teeth are all symptoms of bruxism. Roughly half of all individuals will engage in such behavior on occasion. About five percent of the general population engages in frequent and intense teeth grinding. Although it most frequently takes place while people are sleeping, some people even do it while they are awake.

The majority of the time, a person who grinds their teeth in their sleep is unaware that they do so. It is common for the person who sleeps next to the person who grinds their teeth in the night to be the first person to notice there is a problem. It is also possible for parents to hear it in their children while they are sleeping. Stress can cause clenching and grinding of the teeth. For instance, some people have the habit of grinding their teeth when they are frustrated, trying to concentrate, or anxious.

Risk Factors of Teeth Grinding

Your likelihood of grinding your teeth can be increased by the following factors:

1. Stress

Teeth grinding can be a symptom of increased anxiety as well as stress. Anger and frustration can also do this.

2. Age

Young children frequently grind their teeth, but this behavior typically disappears by the time the child is an adult.

3. Personality Type

The likelihood of you grinding your teeth is higher if you have a personality type that is combative, competitive, or hyperactive.

4. Medication and Other Substances

Bruxism is an unusual side effect that has been linked to the use of certain psychiatric medications, including some antidepressants. There is some evidence that activities such as smoking tobacco, consuming beverages containing caffeine or alcohol, or engaging in recreational drug use may raise the risk of bruxism.

5. Family Members with Bruxism

The condition known as sleep bruxism typically runs in families. If you have bruxism, there is a good chance that other members of your family also have it or have had it in the past.

6. Other Disorders

Some mental health conditions and medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), night terrors, sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), have been linked to bruxism.

Side Effects of Teeth Grinding

When a person grinds their teeth regularly, they run the risk of experiencing several unpleasant side effects. Because many people grind their teeth without even realizing it, you should probably consult a dentist if you experience any of the side effects listed here.

1. Jaw Soreness

Teeth grinding can lead to a variety of uncomfortable side effects, including soreness, stiffness, and pain in the jaw. The constant pressure that is placed on your jaw and the muscles that surround it is the root cause of this aching sensation.

2. Worn Down Teeth

When you grind or clench your teeth, they are subjected to a significant amount of force. Your teeth will begin to show signs of damage after you have ground them for an extended period. They are susceptible to breaking, becoming loose, or wearing down. Because grinding harms the enamel on your teeth, you might even start to experience symptoms of tooth decay.

3. Headaches

Grinding your teeth can cause a variety of unpleasant side effects, including headaches that come and go, constant migraines, and dull pains.

4. Sleepless Nights

Most people are unaware that they are clenching or grinding their teeth while they sleep. Having said that, it is not impossible for teeth grinding to prevent you from being able to get a full night’s rest.

5. Earaches

Grinding one’s teeth frequently results in earaches as a side effect. Because the affected joints are located near the ear canals, the pain can spread through this region.

6. Gum Recession

Bruxism is one of the primary contributors to gum recession. When you grind your teeth, it can cause them to shift and become loose, which can lead to the formation of pockets in which bacteria can thrive and cause the gums to pull away from the teeth.

Can Teeth Grinding Be Prevented?

Utilizing a mouth guard can help stop teeth grinding and protect your oral health. It is possible for the mouth guard, which is provided by the dentist, to be fitted over the teeth to protect them from grinding against one another. Reducing stress and making other positive changes to one’s lifestyle, such as staying away from alcoholic beverages and caffeine, may also be beneficial. To determine whether or not a sleep study is necessary, your dentist may quiz you on your typical sleeping patterns.

Medically classified as bruxism, grinding your teeth while sleeping can be a painful and annoying disorder. Fixing this condition involves habit adjustments, protective dental devices, stress relief techniques, and corrective procedures. Depending on the reason for your condition, either one of these should stop it from happening. Use whichever one suits your situation so that you can get a good night’s sleep.

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