Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a compulsive habit that not only can be annoying, but may also present serious health problems for the affected person.
It can cause premature wear of your dental enamel, lead to temporomandibular joint dysfunction, as well as making you lose sleep. The good news, however, is the fact that you have the ability to make a change once you realize you suffer from teeth grinding.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding may be caused by a multitude of factors, but there are a few that have a higher prevalence rate. The most common causes of teeth grinding include;
- Stress- this is the most common trigger for teeth grinding. Doctors have suggested that stress response during sleep results in unconscious clenching and grinding that is more likely to lead to sleep deprivation as a secondary problem.
- Abnormal teeth arrangement- a malocclusion occurs when the top and bottom rows of teeth are not aligned properly. This is another cause of teeth grinding and clenching. This is responsible for involuntary bruxism, since it cannot be helped.
- Growth of the teeth and jaws- this is especially true for children under 7 years old, since the changes may cause irritation in the gum area, resulting in teeth grinding. It may also be due to the top and bottom molars not fitting together, and in an attempt to align them the child would grind their teeth.
- As a result of another condition- it may be caused by diseases such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s. Parkinson’s affects the person’s motor skills, while Huntington’s results in lack of movement coordination. They can result in involuntary teeth grinding.
- Use of certain medications- it is highly believed that use of medication such as anti-depressants or anti-psychotics will significantly increase risk of teeth grinding.
- Being angry and frustrated- many people clench or grind their teeth in response to frustration or anger. Psychologists believe that it is suppressed anger that causes daytime teeth grinding.
Who can develop Teeth Grinding?
Anyone can develop teeth grinding, but certain groups of people have a higher risk. For example, people with Down syndrome, or those who use caffeinated drinks, alcohol or other illegal drugs.
It is easy to think you may have bruxism/ teeth grinding, but presence of these symptoms usually confirm it:
- Loud clenching or grinding while sleeping.
- Pain in jaw muscles upon waking.
- Chronic headaches.
- Tooth sensitivity due to enamel weakness.
- Severe ear pain
Lifestyle and Home Remedies for teeth grinding
Lifestyle and home remedies are the easiest to find, easiest to apply, simply because they require no real incurred expenses and can be started now. Modifications such as changes to dietary habits and certain techniques can improve your quality of sleep.
- Use Calcium and Magnesium supplements- these two minerals support teeth strength and can help prevent episodes of teeth grinding. This way even if it does directly help the teeth grinding, it would at least ensure good dental structure.
- Have some crunchy foods- having a snack such as an apple or carrot before bed would give the jaw ample exercise to calm it. A relaxed jaw would ease the likelihood of nocturnal grinding.
- Use heat- a cloth soaked in warm water and then wrapped around the jaw area helps in relaxing the muscles of that articles. Doing this would also help relieve headaches and jaw clenching.
- Do yoga- yoga helps the body and mind become in tune with each other. It emphasises deep breathing, which helps to relax muscular tension.
- Have a warm beverage before bed- above all else, avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol is a depressant which worsens sleep apnea and teeth grinding. Having a cup of warm milk or tea at bedtime has been proven to help improve quality of rest. It promotes duration of deep sleep, and relaxes facial muscles, preventing clenching and grinding
Conclusion: Home Remedies for Teeth Grinding
Home remedies for teeth grinding are usually the first line of treatment, since they can be employed from home. It is important to consult your doctor if symptoms do not improve.
This article is for informational purposes only, the remedies here are not meant to be taken as a cure for teeth grinding.
Category: Teeth Grinding