18 Home Remedies for Bruxism

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Some medical problems do not arise until you start to feel the effects of the physical damage that it eventually causes. This is the case with bruxism, which involves the grinding or clenching of teeth. Bruxism is seen as both a medical and dental problem since it involves your teeth and all of the surrounding structures, such as your jaw. Home remedies for bruxism may help you put an end to this bad habit.

Home Remedies for Bruxism

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition where you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. The condition causes you to unconsciously clench your teeth together during the day or grind them at night (which is referred to as sleep bruxism) [1]. Some cases are mild and do not require any treatment, while others can develop into a more serious problem. Untreated chronic cases can lead to dental emergencies and physical deformities of the jaw, teeth and face.

Causes and Symptoms

There are many causes of bruxism, but the main reason behind the condition is stress. Most doctors believe that stress causes teeth grinding during sleep and can disrupt their sleep cycle. When their particular sleeping pattern is disrupted, an individual can end up clenching their teeth without knowing it – intermittently during their sleep. Other causes of bruxism include:

• Frustration – People will clench their teeth when they are angry. Suppressed anger will also have the same effect. When a person finally lets out their frustration and anger towards an intended subject, they may unconsciously grind their teeth in the process.

• Abnormal alignment of teeth – When the upper and lower teeth are not aligned correctly, people may involuntarily grind their teeth against one another to make contact.

• Growth development issues – Bruxism in children can develop when they face development issues in the growth of their teeth and jaws. At the age of seven and younger, the teeth are still growing. Some kids experience itchiness in the gum region that makes them grind their teeth. After a while, this is how the body responds to the changes occurring in the jaws and teeth. When the upper and lower molars don’t fit together as they grow, children may unknowingly grind their teeth.

• Disease complications – Sometimes, a disease is responsible for bruxism, such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington disease. Parkinson’s disease attacks the central nervous system and a person’s motor skills, while Huntington disease is a neurological disorder that causes a lack of movement coordination. These two disorders can cause a person to grind their teeth both during the day and night.

• Certain drugs – There are certain drugs (like the ones used to treat depression) that can cause bruxism.

Symptoms associated with bruxism include intense clenching of teeth that wakes you out of a sleep, worn down and chipped teeth, exposed enamel, sensitive teeth, pain and tightness in the jaws and muscles, earaches, headaches, facial pains, and damaged cheek tissue. Bruxism is quite common in juveniles, but the condition usually disappears on its own [2].

Bruxism Home Remedies

Some people think teeth grinding and clenching teeth is a minor issue, but over time, the consequences can start to emerge. For instance, if you clench your teeth on a regular basis, then you will eventually suffer chips in your teeth and dentures. Sometimes, the gums start to recede and pain develops in your jaws. To ease some of the symptoms and help break the habit, you may want to consider some of the following home remedies for bruxism:

a) Apple Slices:

You can calm a busy mouth by munching on apple slices before going to bed. This can help ease the urge to grind your teeth when you are asleep.

b) Carrot Sticks:

Before going to bed, chomping on carrot sticks can help calm an overactive mouth, and possibly prevent grinding of teeth in the middle of the night. Another vegetable that can help is raw cauliflower.

c) Warm Washcloth:

To relax your jaw muscles, place a warm washcloth around the sides of your face – the best place is against your cheek in front of your earlobe. This will ease the head pain associated with clenched muscles. This remedy is best when done before bedtime.

d) Stay Away from Pencils:

If you chew on pencils and pens during the day, your jaw muscles may crave the action in your sleep, which can lead to grinding and clenching the teeth.

e) Cheek Wound Check:

If you sleep in a sideway position, you may find cheek wounds which is a sign that you grind your teeth at night.

f) Manage Your Stress:

Preparing yourself for bed under the least amount of stress will help prevent teeth clenching and grinding in your sleep. Before going to bed, it is suggested to embrace rituals that encourage better management of stress. Drink a cup of warmed milk. Take a bite of chocolate. Brew a nice cup of herbal tea. For kids that tend to clench and grind their teeth, read them their favorite book and sing soothing songs.

g) Lots of Water:

To treat bruxism in children, make sure they drink plenty of water during the day, which can avoid the dehydration that can lead to teeth grinding and clenching at night.

h) Change Sleeping Positions:

When you sleep on your side or stomach, the chances of suffering from bruxism is greater. To take a bit of pressure off your teeth and reduce tooth grinding at night, try sleeping on your back.

i) Warm Bath:

After a long day at work, soak in a warm bubble bath to alleviate the tensions of stress from the body. This will help relax the body and help lessen your chances of grinding your teeth at night.

j) Say ‘No’ to the Nightcap:

Never drink alcohol during the night if you show the signs of bruxism. Your intoxicated state makes you vulnerable to grind your teeth in your sleep.

k) Calcium and Magnesium:

If you would like to take supplements to help end the clenching of teeth at night, choose calcium and magnesium. The two minerals together can prevent teeth grinding and clenching.

l) Deep Breathing Techniques:

To treat tired muscles, learn the power of deep breathing techniques that can relax the body before you go to sleep. You will be less likely to grind your teeth while you sleep.

m) Avoid Stimulants at Night:

Avoid drinking stimulating beverages after dinner if you tend to clench or grind your teeth. Smoking in the evening can also affect your bruxism. You could worsen your symptoms when indulging in stimulants in the later part of the day.

n) Massage:

Massaging your neck muscles, shoulders and face can help you unwind and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.

o) Tennis Ball:

Squeezing a tennis ball can help minimize your stress levels at night.

p) Pillow:

If you have a contoured pillow, place it under your face, and then position a regular pillow between your arms. When you sleep in this position, you will reduce the strain on your jaw and neck, as well as prevent you from rolling over onto your face.

q) Cut Down on Carbs:

Carbohydrates found in candy and pastries can increase your chances of clenching or grinding your teeth at night.

r) Don’t Skip Dentist Appointments:

Keep your regular dental exams to screen against bruxism and make sure your symptoms are not worsening. A dentist can detect the issues that can affect your mouth and jaw in the future.

Resources:

[1] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bruxism/DS00337

[2] Diseases – Blood to Crohn’s Disease [Volume 2] by Grollier Educational; pg. 22.

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