Bruxism (BRUK-siz-um) is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth when you’re awake (awake bruxism) or clench or grind them during sleep (sleep bruxism).
Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
What causes you to grind your teeth?
Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it often occurs during sleep and is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. It can also be caused by a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.
How do I stop grinding my teeth?
Treatments for bruxism designed to reduce symptoms or get rid of teeth grinding altogether include:
- Reducing stress
- Drinking more water
- Getting more sleep
- Not chewing gum or on other objects
- Consciously relaxing the face and jaw throughout the day
- Buying a teeth grinding mouth guard
- Avoiding alcohol, which increases the urge to clench the teeth
- Avoiding caffeine, which can make you jumpy and tense
The most popular and widely used of these solutions is mouth guards.
Source: Arizona Family Dental
Why do I want to clench my teeth?
My dentist explained that bruxism, a condition most often caused by stress, involves grinding your teeth, either at night or throughout the day, without realizing it. Are you waking up with headaches, a sore jaw or neck pain? Then you may be unconsciously grinding or clenching your teeth, as well.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is a habit that affects around 8-10% of the population. It is broadly characterized by grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw that causes tooth wear and breakage, disorders of the jaw (pain and limited movement) and headache.
What can I do to stop teeth grinding?
Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax. Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.
How can I stop clenching my teeth at night? Home Remedies
- Reduce your stress. Stress is one major cause of teeth grinding, so you should aim to relieve your stress. You can relieve the stress in your life by attending stress counselling, exercising, or meditating. You may also consider looking into natural remedies to reduce stress. There is also a large variety of tea plants, like chamomile and lavender, which can calm you down before bed time.
- Remove caffeine from your diet. Stop drinking soda, coffee, and energy drinks and try not to eat too much chocolate. Caffeine is a stimulant which will make it more difficult for you to relax your mind and the muscles of your jaw, especially at night making you agitated throughout the day.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant which will make it more difficult for you to sleep healthily. Teeth grinding tends to get worse after alcohol consumption. Though alcohol may make it easier for you to fall asleep, it will make you sleep a less restful, more shallow sleep, which will increase your teeth grinding.
- Stop chewing on non-foods. Stop yourself from stress-related habits that have to do with your mouth. Chewing non-food items is a sign of an increased stress level. For example, if you tend to chew on pencils or pens when you are stressed out, you should eliminate that habit. If this is particularly challenging, you can chew gum or suck on a mint whenever you have the urge to chew on non-foods, and slowly wean yourself off of them.
- Train yourself not to clench your jaw during the day. If you notice that your jaw is tense or that your teeth are gritted together, practice relaxing the jaw by placing the tip of your tongue between your teeth.
- Add calcium and magnesium supplements to your diet. Calcium and magnesium are necessary for muscle function and nervous system health. If you don’t have enough, you can have problems with clenching, tension, and other muscle problems. Remember that your heart is also a muscle and it can suffer from stress or lack of calcium.
- Relax before bed. It is important to reduce stress before bed so that you’re more relaxed during the night and therefore less likely to grind your teeth. Here are some ways to relax before bed and have a more restful sleep
What does it mean when you clench your jaw?
Because of anxiety or other issues, some people grind their teeth or clench their jaw thousands of times a night while they sleep. They put so much pressure on their jaws — 250 pounds (or more) worth of force — that they wear down their teeth, sometimes even causing joint and muscle problems.
Source: Everyday Health Media, LLC
Can grinding teeth cause ear pain?
The symptoms can cause temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ). Grinding can wear down your teeth. … Earache (partly because the structures of the temporomandibular joint are very close to the ear canal, and because you can feel pain in a different location than its source; this is called referred pain).
Source: Medline Plus
Can grinding my teeth cause headaches?
Here’s how it happens: Your jaw muscles tighten when you grind or clench your teeth – or do things such as chew gum. The pain from your jaw created by the clenching then travels to other places in the skull, causing headaches or, in severe cases, migraines. You may also experience toothaches, earaches or shoulder pain.
Need to talk to a dentist? Simply pick up the phone and give us a call at: (604) 251-4000 and one of our dentists will be happy to help you.