Teeth grinding, known to dental professionals as bruxism, is typically defined by unwilling tightening or clenching of the jaw coupled with involuntary grinding of the teeth. Bruxism usually occurs while sleeping and is most commonly a problem for children and young adults but can become a problem for individuals in all age groups.
The muscles in the face and mouth are incredibly powerful, and the immense pressure that builds during teeth grinding can measure up to 250 pounds of pressure. That’s simply too much pressure to regularly put on your teeth without experiencing unfortunate side effects like—
- 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 people with sleep bruxism experience, and relieving the pain is a major part of the 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 and impact grinding has on those who suffer from it.
6 Ways to Help Combat Teeth Grinding
- Avoid super chewy foods. Consider avoiding caramel, hard candy, popcorn, peanut butter, or other foods that require 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 and add pressure on the teeth that should be avoided.
- Work on reducing stress levels. Many people grind their teeth as a physical symptom of stress or anxiety. Consider adding natural relaxation methods 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, another prominent symptom of bruxism.
- Use a splint or mouthguard. Mouthguards are worn at night and help protect your teeth by providing a cushion between them 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.
- Shift 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.
- Exercise—your mouth! Once again, your mouth is made of powerful muscles and should be exercised like any muscle in the body. Try this simple exercise to help prevent teeth grinding: Gently close your lips together, but don’t allow your top and bottom teeth to touch. Now, without touching your teeth, 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 teeth grinding choose to undergo 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
Combating teeth grinding, and the painful side effects that come with it, can be a long journey. It may take time to find the treatment plan that’s right for you.
Consult with the dental professionals at Woodmen Dental Group to see which treatment options will be best for you. Their decorated team understands and is available to assist you. Contact Woodmen Dental Group to schedule an appointment today.