Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common yet frustrating issue that can severely impact your dental health. While occasionally clenching your teeth is natural, sustained grinding while you sleep can be detrimental to oral health and lead to painful symptoms that impact you throughout the day.
As the name suggests, sleep bruxism refers to forceful grinding that occurs while a person is asleep. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware they suffer from sleep bruxism. They are only conscious of the problem when they wake up to the telltale symptoms, including a sore jaw or painful headaches.
Although there is no real cure for bruxism, there are several approaches you can take to help prevent nighttime teeth grinding.
Time for Relief: Tricks to Stop the Grind
Sleep With a Mouthguard
Constant grinding can wear down your teeth’s enamel and make them more vulnerable to cavities. However, wearing a mouthguard can protect your teeth by stopping them from grinding against each other while you sleep.
You can schedule an appointment with our office to be fitted for a custom mouthguard, but mouthguards are also available in most drugstores. Just keep in mind that custom-made guards are typically more comfortable and more effective than the one-size-fits-all options you can buy at the store.
Undergo a Reductive Coronoplasty
In cases where teeth grinding results from crowded, crooked, or misaligned teeth, a reductive coronoplasty may be appropriate. This dental procedure is used to reshape or level the biting surface of the teeth and can relieve symptoms of nighttime bruxism.
Practice Stress Reduction Techniques
For many patients, teeth grinding is due to mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or therapy, are often beneficial in these cases. Try incorporating these stress reduction techniques into your bedtime routine to prevent grinding while you sleep.
Avoid Chewy and Sticky Foods
Unfortunately, chewy and sticky foods, including steak, nuts, popcorn, hard candies, and caramel, can further wear out your jaw and exacerbate symptoms of teeth grinding. Avoid these foods and others that require lots of chewing to prevent painful symptoms.
Adjust Your Sleeping Position
Another approach to reducing teeth grinding is to change your sleep position. Interestingly, sleeping on your side or stomach can increase your chances of grinding at night. Instead, the best position to sleep in if you have bruxism is on your back. The reasoning behind this is that sleeping on your back can reduce the stress on your jawline that can come with sleeping on your side or front and provide additional head and neck support.
Try Mouth Exercises
Certain mouth exercises can also help reduce pain caused by teeth grinding and improve range of motion in the jaw. Try the following tongue and jaw exercises to relieve or prevent bruxism symptoms:
- Gently close your lips while preventing your top and bottom teeth from touching.
- Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth without touching your teeth.
- Continue to hold this position for as long as possible.
How We Can Help
The best way to identify and prevent bruxism is to visit your dentist for an oral exam. An experienced dentist can examine your mouth for signs of bruxism and help you determine the best way to relieve your symptoms.
If you’re currently suffering from teeth grinding, Highlands Ranch Dental Group is here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.