The exact number of Americans who experience Bruxism or grind their teeth isn’t known. The medical community believes that up to 50% of children grind their teeth. As they age, the percentage drops to 15% in adolescence and 3% in older age.
Most people don’t know that they’re grinding their teeth, especially when it happens while sleeping. There are symptoms.
Bruxism leads to morning headaches, lost sleep, and a host of dental issues.
Below are five tips for dealing with Bruxism or teeth grinding.
1. Find out the Cause
To cope with Bruxism or teeth grinding, find out the cause. Once you understand why it’s happening, you can seek the proper treatment.
It may be an ingrained habit from childhood, or it’s the alignment of your teeth and jaw.
A dentist examines your teeth during a checkup visit. They’re looking for several things including cavities, obvious root canal candidates, and signs of flattened teeth.
Flattened teeth indicate Bruxism and teeth grinding. Normal teeth have ridges on top that help you tear food when you eat. To ensure the diagnosis is correct, expect to return for a few follow-up visits.
If the cause isn’t dental, it may be your lifestyle. In this case, your doctor would evaluate your symptoms and offer some solutions.
2. Avoid Consuming Stimulants in the Evening
Cutting off stimulants is one lifestyle change that those experiencing Bruxism or teeth grinding can make.
Namely, focus on avoiding the consumption of stimulants a few hours before you go to bed. Caffeine, soda, and sugar aren’t great for your teeth, and it’s best to avoid consuming them in the evening.
If you have trouble sleeping a full night, avoiding stimulants in the evening solves that issue. Plus you’re less likely to go to bed overstimulated.
Anxiety, stress, and anger cause individuals to clench their teeth during deep sleep. Adding stimulants on top of that makes it worse.
3. Reduce Stress
An estimated 77% of Americans report experiencing stress, and 33% report experiencing extreme stress. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America found that 18% of the population lives with anxiety.
Luckily, there are several methods to help you cope with stress and anxiety. If they’re causing your Bruxism, improving your mental health relieves the teeth grinding habit.
Exercise, meditation, walking, and yoga are among activities that produce endorphins, a natural remedy for stress and anxiety. You receive a hit of dopamine that boosts your mood too.
If stress is causing you to grind your teeth while you’re sleeping, these activities help alleviate it.
4. Use Medical Devices
There are cases where Bruxism and teeth grinding are chronic. To cope, a dental professional will prescribe a mouthguard. These mouthguards have several names, including dental guards, chomper labs, and occlusal splints.
They all do the same thing in different shapes and sizes.
Occlusal splints are clear and look like a version of Invisalign. There’s a top and bottom piece. The splint holds your teeth together so that you don’t grind them.
Mouthguards, on the hand, protect the teeth. You might still grind while wearing them, but the grinding won’t flatten out the ridges.
A mouthguard comes in several colors, such as blue, white, and clear. It acts as a cushion between your teeth and the pressure put on them with your jaw.
5. Practice Good Sleep Habits
The medical community continues to research everything that impacts humans. For several years, the best sleeping position was on your back. This changed to the side because it’s better for your heart, reduces sleep apnea and symptoms of acid reflux.
Good sleeping habits help you cope with Bruxism and teeth grinding.
First, get enough sleep. If you try to get enough and can’t, seek medical advice.
If you suffer from sleep apnea or snoring, it’s tough to sleep through the night. You might be a candidate for a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine coupled with a mouthguard or splint.
The more natural remedies you commit to, the less you’ll need medical devices to cope with Bruxism or teeth grinding.
There are ways to cope with Bruxism and teeth grinding, even if it’s a chronic condition. Keep in mind that although each is similar to the other, they’re not the same. Here’s a guide to help you out. Relief is just a few dental or medical visits away.