Teeth grinding or bruxism is a sleep disorder that can affect people of all ages and gender. This common disorder is known to affect 10% of children and 15% of adults.
Stress and anxiety can cause bruxism. Some experts attribute this order to heredity and allergies as well. But the definite causes remain unknown.
If you’re conscious of your teeth grinding habit, the chances are that you’re ready to try anything to get rid of it. You may be a silent sufferer of bruxism.
Or maybe you’ve already tried a lot of things.
You must have gotten a lot of advice from friends and family members. But those can hardly take the place of professional advice. In this article, we will discuss some proven tips that can help with teeth grinding.
But before we proceed, let us understand how your bruxism affects you.
How Does Bruxism Affect Your Quality of Life?
Bruxism has no known cause but its effects are far-reaching. Teeth grinding is not easy to cure and living with the symptoms of bruxism can be quite frustrating. Let us elaborate on how your day-to-day life may get affected due to bruxism.
You Suffer From Chronic Pain: The pain in your jaw due to teeth grinding may become chronic. It may cause difficulty in eating and chewing. It may even get difficult to talk. The constant pain may make you uncomfortable and irritable.
Your Teeth May Get Damaged: You can’t ignore the fact that teeth grinding can potentially erode your teeth. This may cause your teeth to chip or become misshapen. They may become overly sensitive, and further create problems in eating. Your jaw muscles can become weak and lead to misalignment of your teeth. The damage to your teeth can be permanent.
Your Sleep Quality Deteriorates: Lastly, teeth grinding affects your sleep. Due to constant grinding and sore muscles, your sleep patterns get distorted. Sometimes breathing can become constricted due to teeth grinding and excessive clenching at night. This may also obstruct your sleep. Poor sleep quality can impact your overall health negatively.
How To Manage Bruxism
While bruxism may seem to be an incurable disorder, there are ways to minimize the symptoms. It may be easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. We can assure you that it is possible to manage these symptoms and lead a quality life. We’ve put together some tips which can be helpful.
1. Teeth Night Guards
Most people suffer from teeth grinding in sleep. They often complain of poor sleep quality. Sometimes it’s their partner who raises concern over the nighttime teeth grinding.
If you’re suffering from the same problem, a night guard for your teeth can come to the rescue. These professionally designed teeth guards or mouth guards can also protect your teeth from damage due to unconscious clenching or grinding. Look for a brand that can give you custom-fitted teeth guards.
Smile Brilliant, a brand loved by thousands of satisfied customers makes night guards that will fit perfectly according to your jaw’s size and dental structure.
2. Biofeedback Therapy
Biofeedback therapy can help you overcome the habit of teeth grinding by making you more aware of it. The therapy works by using electromyography to train your jaw muscles. The visuals, vibrations and auditory signals help you gain better control of your jaw.
Although the effectiveness of biofeedback therapy for bruxism is not backed by scientific research, the technique seems to have high potential in relieving the symptoms. You can contact a therapist who specializes in biofeedback and discuss your situation in detail. Long-term therapy can give you substantial relief from the aches and pains connected with bruxism.
3. Jaw Exercises
Exercising your jaw muscles and tongue can give them strength. Strong muscles can hold the alignment of your jaws. You’ll see improvements in teeth grinding with regular exercise. A physical therapist who specializes in these exercises will be able to guide you well in this regard.
Some simple exercises can also be done at home and don’t necessarily require a therapist’s supervision. You can also learn some massage techniques for relaxing and softening jaw muscles.
Many medical practitioners are recommending botox injections to their bruxism patients. Botox injections may have to be administered repeatedly over a few months. The treatment is not a permanent cure but it can alleviate symptoms like teeth grinding and also provide relief from associated jaw pain. But there are risks involved in this treatment and you should opt for it after thorough consideration.
The medical term for corrective surgical procedure for bruxism is Reductive Coronoplasty. This dental procedure is effective if the cause of bruxism is crooked or crowded teeth. Your dentist can level and reshape the biting surface of teeth. If required, the teeth can further be built up to perfection with a follow-up coroplast.
6. Stress Management
Sometimes there are no physiological causes of bruxism. The problem lies in your stressful lifestyle and how you manage your emotions. Taking some time for self-care can help you overcome day-to-day stress. Stress-reducing techniques like meditation and yoga can give you multiple benefits besides relieving symptoms of bruxism.
Depression may be another cause of bruxism. If you’re suffering from depression, talk to a medical expert and seek adequate help.
7. Relax Before Going To Bed
Taking recourse to some general relaxation techniques just before going to sleep can work wonders with bruxism. Especially, if your case is not a chronic one.
Take a warm bath with aromatic Epsom salts. A relaxing full-body massage with herbal oils is also a good idea. You can also drink herbal teas before going to bed.
All these methods can help you unwind and release tension from your facial muscles and jaws.
Most of these methods mentioned above cost you nothing and still prove to be effective. Some methods may require medical supervision and hence be slightly expensive. Nonetheless, all the above suggestions can give you relief from teeth grinding symptoms and also improve your general wellness.