Teeth grinding or bruxism is a problem where people grind their top and bottom teeth together which can cause jaw pain, tooth decay, and other oral problems. While it usually occurs while you sleep, bruxism can also take place during the day. If you are looking for ways to stop teeth grinding in yourself or your child there are some tips you can try to prevent the negative effects.
Complications From Teeth Grinding
While grinding your teeth occasionally may not lead to you needing surgery or a mouth guard, if you consistently grind your teeth you may experience problems in your jaw, mouth, neck, and painful teeth. Some negative effects include:
- Wearing down of teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Limited chewing
- Facial muscle enlargement
- Lock Jaw
Utilizing mouth exercises can help limit inflammation and tension while helping your brain remember a more relaxed position for your mouth. One exercise you can try is opening your mouth wide and touching your tongue to your front teeth. This can help release tension in your jaw. Another easy one is to mouth or says the letter N to prevent your teeth from touching while also relaxing your jaw muscles.
Getting in other forms of exercise helps release endorphins into your brain and body which will help reduce stress. Exercise can also help you relax which can help stop clenching in your jaw.
Try A Mouth Guard
If you experience teeth grinding in your sleep wearing a mouth guard can help. Some dental offices may offer occlusal splits that will cushion teeth while sleeping and hold them in place. For those with a severe problem, custom mouth guards may be created and can reduce the strain on your jaw. Having one custom made will be more comfortable than a store bought one because they fit your teeth better and are made of softer materials.
Reduce Stress Before Bed
Clenching your jaw or teeth grinding is usually a nervous habit or a way to cope with stress. If your bruxism acts up at night, try limiting stress before bed. Take a break from your phone, take a bath, finish your chores during the day, or head to bed early to get enough sleep. Finding any activity that limits stress before bedtime can make you feel relaxed and stop your teeth from wanting to grind while you sleep.
Avoid Chewy Foods
When your teeth grinding has flared up, avoid chewing gum, ice, or eating foods like taffy. Doing these actions will cause your jaw to become more worn and tired and can make going throughout your day painful. Repetitive motions can cause your jaw to lock up or make teeth grinding worse. So avoid chewing on your pen cap, eating ice, or chewing popcorn until you get your bruxism under control.
Be Aware Of Clenching During The Day
Teeth grinding mostly occurs at night but there are some who find themselves grinding their teeth during the day. If you notice that your jaw is tight or you are feeling pain in your teeth or around your mouth and face, you may be clenching your teeth or jaw while doing other activities. When you become more aware of what your jaw is doing during the day, it may help you limit your grinding at night.
Eric Felt D.D.S.
Here at Eric Felt D.D.S. we help you feel comfortable and seen during each visit. Our practice wants to help Cottonwood Heights and surrounding residents have the best oral health possible. With regular dental checkups and advice from your dentist, you will be able to see more positive results and stop teeth grinding. Offering fillings, cosmetic dentistry, cleanings, sports mouth guards, and more, we can help patients of all ages feel comfortable here at Eric Felt dental. Contact our office to improve your oral health today!