Have you lately been waking up with a sore jaw, pain in your ear, headaches, and neck pain. Your teeth are more sensitive when you brush them as well. You make an appointment with your dentist and it turns out that you’ve been grinding your teeth in your sleep.
Different things cause people to grind their teeth during the day such as frustration and stress. It’s hard to tell when you’re doing it in your sleep though so you’re not sure how to stop it.
To help you break this bad habit and take care of your teeth, here is a quick guide on how to stop grinding your teeth.
What is Bruxism?
Before we get into how to stop grinding your teeth, it's important to understand what it is and why it happens. Bruxism goes a bit deeper than simple grinding. It is a condition where someone excessively gnashes and clinches their teeth.
It's easy to spot during the day but at night it's a problem. Someone can go years without being diagnosed because it's so hard to spot. The biggest indicator that you're suffering from it is that you'll wake up with random pains in your jaw or headaches.
Why Does It Happen?
There are many reasons why you may be suffering from Bruxism. The main ones are stress, age, your personality, medications, and substances.
If you're carrying a lot of stress from your day to day life it could be the root of your problem. This stress doesn't end with simple panicking and anxiety. Your emotions like frustration and anger can cause you to grind your teeth as well.
Teeth grinding is more common in children then it is adults. There are many theories as to why.
The first one is that small children have misaligned teeth and will grow out of it when they get their permanent teeth. The second is that it's a result of teething.
If you have an aggressive personality that may cause bruxism. People with high energy personalities be it angry or hyper tend to grind their teeth more often than those who don't.
The reason is that you've developed it as a nervous tick that you carry with you even in your sleep.
It's not often that medications cause teeth grinding but it can happen as a side effect. The main ones that cause it are antidepressants. If this is happening to you, talk to your doctor about turning to an alternative.
Medication isn't the only substance that can cause teeth grinding. If you enjoy your fair share of coffee, alcohol, or tobacco it can be the root of your issue as well.
Each of these three things affects your stress levels in a negative way. Caffeine and tobacco increase them while alcohol makes it harder for you to cope with them. This ups your risk for grinding your teeth.
1. Relaxation Techniques
Now we're finally going to get into things that you can do to stop the teeth grinding from happening. The first one we're going to talk about is using relaxation techniques to cut back on stress.
If you go out and get some fresh air by going for a walk, enrol yourself in yoga classes, or get a massage every once in a while, you will sleep better and you won't grind your teeth as much in your sleep.
2. Cut Out Alcohol and Caffeine
Getting a coffee on your way to work is fine but you never want to drink it a few hours before you go to bed. It will keep you awake which will result in bruxism. Many people drink alcohol before they go to bed to help them sleep but it's more of a hindrance than anything.
While alcohol will make you sleep, it's never restful. You'll be unable to enter the REM cycle of sleep so you'll wake up groggy and with a sore jaw because you ground your teeth while you were tossing and turning.
3. Replace Chewing Habits
A lot of people have this issue of absent-mindedly chewing on stuff throughout the day. For example, chewing a pen while you're sitting at your desk or gnawing the straw from your fast food cup. Doing this is bad for your teeth and it also encourages you to grind your teeth at night.
Be mindful of your chewing habits. Don't use your teeth for anything but eating food. Keep your mouth closed and your teeth apart.
If you feel like you're clenching your jaw then take a moment to reset yourself and relax.
4. See Your Dentist
Of course, if none of these methods work then it's time to make an appointment with your dentist. There are a couple of things that they can do for you. The most common is fitting you for a mouth guard.
If you can't afford a custom mouth guard then you can get an over-the-counter one but it won't be near as comfortable. Sometimes grinding is caused because of the way your teeth are shaped. Your doctor will give you dental crowns if this is the case.
It will fix the problem and cover up the damage that your bruxism has already done to your teeth. If none of these options sound appealing, then you could also go in for a jaw slimming.
How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth in Your Sleep and Keep Your Healthy Smile
If you're waking up with a sore jaw and a headache it could be from bruxism and or teeth grinding. If you don't see a dentist or do something at the very least, you may do lasting damage to your teeth. Use some of these tips on how to stop grinding your teeth in your sleep to stop the problem.