Treating Bruxism: How to Stop Grinding Teeth

Whether you're doing it at night while you're sleeping or during waking hours, grinding teeth isn't good for you. Here's a look at how to stop grinding teeth.

29 Mar Treating Bruxism: How to Stop Grinding Teeth

Did you know that 10% of people are affected by bruxism AKA teeth grinding?

It’s no wonder that people are looking for ways to stop grinding their teeth. 

Whether you’re doing it at night while you’re sleeping or while you’re awake, grinding your teeth isn’t good for you.

Keep reading to learn how to stop grinding teeth.

Treating Bruxism: How to Stop Grinding Teeth

Most people that grind their teeth have no idea that they’re doing it. Grinding your teeth is more common during sleep but it can also happen when you’re awake. If you have a partner they usually notice the problem first.

Parents are the ones that notice their kids grinding their teeth and bring it up to the dentist. Up to 15% of children suffer from teeth grinding. Some people grind their teeth when they’re anxious, angry or are concentrating.

A dentist is the only one that can diagnose bruxism. If you feel constant pain in your teeth when you first wake up, make an appointment with your dentist to see if it’s a result of grinding your teeth. This is something you want to catch early to prevent further damage to your teeth.

Ways to Help You Stop Grinding

There are a few ways on how to stop grinding teeth whether it’s happening while you’re asleep or awake.

Exercise

Working out is a great way to alleviate stress. Stress is a common cause of teeth grinding. Doing either an intense workout or a walk or run will help alleviate stress.

Night Guard

If your dentist diagnoses you with bruxism they can custom fit a mouth guard for you to wear at night. It will fit over your top teeth and you wear it while you’re sleeping. This doesn’t stop you from grinding but it protects your teeth while you’re doing it in your sleep.

Relax

Anxiety is a big reason for teeth grinding so it’s a great idea to take it easy. Unwind before bedtime and relieve stress. When you go to bed try to be as calm as possible to help reduce grinding.

Jaw Massage

Just like a full body massage relaxes your body a jaw massage relaxes your jaw muscles. When you’re feeling tense gently rub your jaw muscles.

Avoid Caffeine

Sometimes after drinking coffee or caffeine grinding can become worst. If this is your case skip extra caffeine before going to bed. Same applies for alcohol it can increase grinding.

Warm Bath Before Bed

Before you lay down for a nights rest take a warm bath to help relax your jaw muscles and your entire body. If you prefer to not take a bath you can apply a heating pad or soak a washcloth in warm water and apply it to your jaw to relax your muscles.

Stay Away from Chewy Foods

When you chew steak, popcorn, gum or any other chewy food it will make your jaw sorer. If you’ve been grinding your teeth give your jaw a break and let it relax.

Only Chew Food

Only use your teeth to chew food. If you pick up the habit to gnaw on pens or hard items you’re enabling your jaw muscles to get used to clenching. If you get your teeth used to clenching you’re more likely to grind your teeth.

Therapy

If you suffer from anxiety having a psychologist or psychiatrist will help alleviate your anxiety. This, in turn, will reduce teeth grinding because you’re less anxious.

Why Do Some Grind Their Teeth?

There are several reasons some people grind their teeth at night. As mentioned above it can be caused by anxiety or stress but it can also be caused by a crooked tooth, a missing tooth, an abnormal bite, or a sleep disorder. 

Signs You Might Be Grinding

There are several symptoms or signs that you are possibly grinding your teeth. If you experience any of these make an appointment to confirm with your dentist.

  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Fractured, flattened, chipped, or loose teeth
  • Sore Jaw
  • Sore face
  • Tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Sleep disruption
  • Tight jaw muscles 
  • Headache starting in your temples
  • Locked jaw that won’t open or close all the way
  • Teeth grinding that’s so loud your partner wakes up

Teeth Grinding Effects

There are several problems caused by constantly grinding your teeth including but not limited to the following:

  • Tooth loss
  • Cracked tooth enamel
  • Broken teeth
  • Increased sensitivity to cold and hot
  • Limited jaw joint movement
  • Pain in the jaw joint
  • Broken restorations such as fillings
  • Extra wear and tear on teeth

When Is It Time to See a Dentist?

If you’re concerned about any recent teeth or jaw pain make an appointment to see your dentist. Also if you experience any of the symptoms listed above you want to get your mouth checked out. Remember the earlier you catch it the better for the lifespan of your teeth. 

Day Time Teeth Grinding

Although grinding teeth is more common at night while a person is sleeping some people grind while they’re awake. If it’s heavy grinding during the day wearing a dental guard will help. You will be able to talk with the guard on.

Because you’re awake in the daytime you might be able to control your grinding more but it can still create negative effects if you don’t find a solution early on. 

Grinding Be Gone

After learning more about teeth grinding and ways how to stop grinding teeth you can make sure your picture-perfect smile stays intact. 

Are you looking for a dental office that makes you feel at home? Contact us today to make your appointment and be seen by a dentist that cares.

Dr. Daniel Allen

Daniel Allen, DDS has been involved in dentistry since 2003, starting his career as a dental hygienist before completing his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at UT Houston Dental Branch. Dr. Allen is a sixth generation Texan and was raised here in Central Texas. Learn more

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