Clenching your teeth at times may be normal. Reports said that doing this is usually a natural response to stress. However, when this becomes a habit of yours, and a full-blown grinding, it has negative impacts on your dental and oral health. It may even decrease the quality of your life.
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth
Teeth grinding is medically known as bruxism. While most people who have this condition do it during sleeping periods, some others do it subconsciously when they are awake. But, either way, when this occurs regularly, your oral and dental health would suffer.
Many individuals typically learned about having the condition through others. In most cases, family members, friends, and loved ones would hear the grinding at night when you fall asleep first.
For others, though, there are symptoms that could tell if you grind your teeth while you are sleeping. The most common indications include:
- excessive wear and tear on teeth
- stiffness or pain in your jaw
- poor quality of sleep
Tips To Help You Stop Grinding
You certainly know already how teeth grinding affects one’s life if you are reading this. Without a doubt, you would want to know how to reduce, and possibly eliminate, this condition in your daily life.
Here are some of the best ways that you may do to reduce teeth grinding:
- Avoid alcohol
One of the top things you must avoid is alcohol. As much as possible, refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages as teeth grinding tends to be more apparent after consumption.
Aside from alcohol, it is not also recommendable to take drinks that are high in caffeine such as coffee, colas, and teas. It would be best to hydrate all the time with water.
- Avoid nail-biting and gum-chewing
Nail-biting and chewing gum should not be part of your daily life. Doing these things all the time would only make the clenching and grinding more familiar with your jaw muscles. They would get used to the habit and may intensify further the condition. Also, do not chew anything that is not food.
- Relax your jaw muscles at night
Relaxing your jaw muscles before sleeping is another best way to reduce teeth grinding. It is worth noting that the condition is usually a response to stress, and allowing your muscles to calm down and relax would likely eliminate the possibility of further clenching and grinding.
You may do this by holding a warm washcloth or towel against your cheek. Make sure that you cover your jawline.
- Mouthguards and splints
Mouthguards and splints are helpful tools for people with bruxism. While it may not fully eliminate the condition, wearing them while you sleep stops the wear and tear on your teeth as it hinders them from grinding against each other.
You may ask your dentist for custom-made mouthguards and splints. Aside from your usual teeth cleaning treatments, these experts will help you with your bruxism and other dental issues.
Injecting Botox is another helpful way to reduce teeth grinding. Studies reportedly show that it may lessen the pain and recurrence of the condition as the botulinum toxin helps relax the jaw muscles.
Despite the significant evidence, experts noted that further study is needed to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the procedure. Also, keep in mind that Botox is not a cure and not a long-term solution. You may need another set of injections after three to five months.
- Stress-reduction techniques
Considering that teeth grinding is due to stress, reducing it may help alleviate the condition in the long run. Many experts claimed that following a few stress-reduction techniques may do the trick. These may include meditation, yoga, talk therapies with counsellors and therapists, and regular exercises.
Aside from helping you from grinding your teeth, your physical and mental health in its entirety will benefit from them.
- Tongue and jaw muscle exercises
Doing a few tongues and jaw muscle exercises help relax your facial and jaw muscles. They would also help maintain the proper alignment of your jaw.
Alongside the gentle massages that you may give to your jaw, you may try opening your mouth widely and touch your front teeth using your tongue. You may also say the letter “N” loudly as it refrains your teeth from touching, thus avoids further clenching.
- Seeing a physical therapist
Physical therapists are also helpful when it comes to dealing with teeth grinding. Alongside your dental experts, these therapists know how to relax and loosen muscles, including the ones that affect your jaws.
They would also offer several other tips and ways to lessen the further stress on your jaw muscles that likely intensifies the teeth grinding.
Although teeth grinding is a usual response to stress for some people, it remains not normal and unhealthy for you. Aside from disturbing others amid their resting and sleeping hours, your oral and dental health would also suffer from the wear and tear.
This is why it is a must for you to deal with bruxism as early as today, and the above-given tips are some of the best ways to do it.