Teeth grinding, commonly known to dental professionals as bruxism, is typically defined by unwilling tightening of the jaw coupled with involuntary grinding of the teeth. Bruxism usually occurs while sleeping and is most commonly an issue for children and young adults. But it can become a problem for individuals in all age groups.
The muscles in our face and mouth are extremely powerful. The immense pressure that builds during teeth grinding can measure up to 250 pounds of pressure. This is too much pressure to regularly put on your teeth without experiencing the following side effects:
- Pain in the mouth and jaw
- Sore or aggravated neck muscles
- Long-term dental damage
- Lack of quality sleep
Pain is the most common issue those with sleep bruxism experience, and relieving the pain is a major part of this treatment process. While there is no one-step cure to stop teeth grinding, there are several treatments that help relieve symptoms and combat the frequency.
6 Ways to Help Combat Teeth Grinding
- Try to avoid chewy foods. Good foods to stay away from are caramels, hard candies, popcorn, peanut butter, or any food that requires the muscles in your mouth to work hard. Foods that involve a lot of chewing can further irritate the muscles in your neck and jaw, which adds pressure on the teeth that should be avoided.
- Work on reducing stress levels. A majority of people grind their teeth as a symptom of stress or anxiety. Consider a natural relaxation method to your daily routine to help relieve stress. Exercise and meditation are excellent options for natural stress reduction and can help improve sleep patterns as well.
- Try shifting your sleeping position. Give your head and neck more support during sleep. Consider adjusting your pillow or even purchasing an additional pillow to strengthen support.
- Use a splint or mouthguard. Mouthguards are worn at night and help protect your teeth. It provides a cushion between your teeth that will prevent them from grinding together during sleep. While mouthguards can be purchased over the counter for a low price, custom-made mouthguards are likely to be more effective as your dentist makes them specifically to fit your unique mouth shape.
- Regularly exercise your mouth. Your mouth is made of strong muscles and should be exercised like any muscle in the body. Try this exercise to help prevent teeth grinding: gently close your lips together and don’t allow your bottom and top teeth to touch. Then, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth and hold that position for as long as possible. This exercise forces the muscles in the cheeks and jaw to relax and prevents grinding.
- Undergo a dental procedure. Some people who struggle with bruxism choose to receive a reductive coronoplasty. If you grind your teeth due to misaligned, crowded, or crooked teeth, this dental procedure may be the right option for you as the procedure levels or reshapes the biting surface of your teeth.
See a Professional to Help Fight Teeth Grinding
Trying to combat teeth grinding, and the side effects that you experience with it can take time. Find the treatment plan that’s right for you.
The dental professionals at East Harmony Dental can help decide the best treatment option for you. Their dedicated team understands and is available to assist you. Visit East Harmony Dental’s website to schedule an appointment today.