Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, is a very common condition experienced by one in every three people. The severity of bruxism varies, but on the more extreme end of the scale it can result in aching jaw, headaches, tooth pain, loosening of teeth from the gums, losing and fracturing teeth, receding gums and developing jaw joint disordered like TMJ. Teeth grinding wears away enamel and can be a cause for serious dental treatments down the road. Preventing bruxism is important to avoid painful symptoms and costly dental treatments. Here are five tips to stop grinding your teeth and maintaining healthy pearly whites.
1. REDUCE STRESS AND ANXIETY
Many people clench or grind their teeth due to stress. If you suspect this could be the cause of your grinding, taking time to relax before bed could help ease teeth grinding and enable a better night’s rest all together. Spend ten minutes before bed doing a meditation or some breathing exercises, try and shut off your thoughts, or allow yourself to zone out with a bit of television before bed. Transitioning from stressful activities like work right into sleep can increase stress levels when heading into slumber. Take the time to de-stress before bed, and save your teeth from wear and tear caused by grinding.
2. BE MINDFUL OF CLENCHING
Make a conscious effort to check in throughout the day about clenching of the teeth and jaw. You may be surprised when you tune into this to find that you are subtly clenching throughout the day or that you are resting your teeth together. There should always be slight gap between the top and bottom teeth, being aware of this and consciously tuning into the position of your jaw and teeth can reduce the impact of bruxism.
3. USE A MOUTHGAURD
Many people continue to grind their teeth even after conscious awareness and action has been taken to stop. In these cases, a mouthgaurd is highly recommend to prevent further damage to the tooth enamel and structure of the tooth. Here at Whistler Dental we fit patients with comfortable and protective mouthgaurd custom to the bite, to protect their teeth while they sleep. These mouthgaurds work wonders in maintaining the health of the tooth, preventing more serious dental problems down the road, and the related expenses incurred.
4. OPT FOR SOFTER FOODS
In an attempt to break the habit of teeth grinding, a diet with softer foods will often give your jaw muscles a break from repeated clenching and grinding. The jaw muscle is one of the strongest muscles in the entire body with researchers saying it has 600 pounds of force per square inch! This relaxing of the jaw by eating softer foods can be a good practice to re-set, and will give your jaw some temporary relief from being overworked.
5. DRINK MORE WATER
Drinking more water is the easiest cure for many health ailments, and has been proven to help relieve Bruxism. By staying hydrated before you go to bed, you are more likely to have a sound sleep, and reduce the occurrences of teeth grinding. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol and substituting with water instead is a good practice for those wishing to maintain oral health at night.
If you are aware that you grind your teeth, or suspect that you may due to waking up with headaches or a sore jaw, book in with your family dentist for an assessment. Here at Whistler Dental we will examine the surface of the tooth, and assess any symptoms to make an assessment of grinding. We will then recommend strategies to reduce grinding, including the tips listed above. For more information about teeth grinding, contact us today.