Stop That Grinding! Tips for Reducing Bruxism

Teeth grinding affects more than 40 million people nationwide. It has been estimated that 30% of all children ages 3-13 also grind their teeth. Although bBruxism may seem like nothing more than an annoying habit, it can have a detrimental effect on the health of your teeth. Often resulting in broken teeth, loose fillings and worn enamel, it is vital to report any amount of teeth grinding to your family dentist.

Bruxism Symptoms

Not sure if you suffer from Bruxism? Check for these common symptoms:

  • Morning headaches
  • Sore mouth
  • Tenderness in your jaw
  • Swelling in your mouth, neck or jaw areas
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Loose or chipped teeth

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is caused by a lot of things. Although most people associate it with a habit, Bruxism can be more complicated than that. Daytime clenching is often due to either stress, a misalignment of the teeth or even a neurological issue. Nighttime grinding is most related to stress and tooth misalignment. Of course, medications can also play a role in both daytime and nighttime Bruxism.

Simple Ways to Beat Bruxism

Depending on the cause (and severity) of the problem, there are a variety of ways to stop grinding your teeth:

  • Relax: if stress is causing all of that clenching and grinding, then finding ways to relax may help. This may include something as simple as learning some deep breathing exercises, getting a massage or even a glass of wine before bed. More serious approaches to treatment including medication, behavioural therapy and manual devices.
  • Cut down on stimulants: if coffee or caffeine makes you jittery, be sure to avoid them for several hours before bed. Also, stay away from the TV, video games and your cell phone before retiring to bed. This will help relax your entire body before bedtime.

Daytime clenching is often due to either stress, a misalignment of the teeth or even a neurological issue. Nighttime grinding is most related to stress and tooth misalignment.

Custom Made Mouthpieces Can Help

In addition to the tips shared above, more severe Bruxism can be alleviated by using a custom made mouthpiece or mouth guard. With several options available, it is best to contact a dental professional to help you choose the one best for you.

Occlusal Splints

This is a small plastic mouth guard that does not require any special fitting. It works to help stave off teeth grinding and protects the teeth if Bruxism does occur. Another benefit of the device: it stops the noise of teeth grinding, which can help the patient and their partner avoid those sleepless nights associated with severe Bruxism.

Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD)

Used mainly in treating snoring and sleep apnea, many Bruxism patients have found these devices to work well in alleviating teeth grinding. Available only with a prescription, these devices move your lower jaw forward, open up your airway, thereby allowing air to pass through uninterrupted while sleeping. They also limit the ability to grind the teeth, and they can cause pain if teeth are clenched while wearing it, which in turn reprograms the brain to stop the grinding.

Braces Work Too

If Bruxism is being caused by a misalignment of the teeth, braces can be used to reposition the teeth, thus alleviating the grinding. To determine if braces can help with your Bruxism, be sure to see an orthodontist.

Finding Bruxism Help

Find out more way to reduce Bruxism and protect your teeth from habitual grinding by making an appointment with the professional staff at Brewery District Dental.

Ready to schedule your next dental appointment? Contact us.

About the Author :