• January 10, 2024
  • Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Understanding Teeth Grinding: What is Bruxism?

Bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding, is a condition where individuals unconsciously grind or clench their teeth, typically during sleep. If you’re experiencing discomfort from bruxism, learning how to stop teeth grinding can significantly improve your oral health and overall well-being.

The Causes of Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, known medically as bruxism, can stem from a variety of causes. Identifying the root cause is a key step in finding the most effective treatment to stop teeth grinding. Common causes include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Sleep disorders, including sleep apnea
  • Misalignment of upper and lower teeth
  • Lifestyle habits
  • Caffeine or alcohol consumption
  • Certain medications
  • Neurological conditions
  • Genetic predisposition

Recognising the Symptoms of Bruxism

Awareness of bruxism’s symptoms is crucial for early intervention and treatment. Many people don’t realise they grind their teeth until it’s pointed out or diagnosed. Key symptoms to watch for include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Wear on tooth enamel
  • Sore facial muscles
  • Ear pain due to temporomandibular joint strain
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped, flattened, or loose teeth
  • Soreness in the neck or shoulders
  • Grinding noise noticed by a sleeping partner
how to stop teeth grinding

How to stop clenching teeth? Making lifestyle changes such as managing stress, avoiding stimulants before bed and adopting a soothing bedtime routine can significantly help in preventing teeth clenching.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Teeth Grinding

Prevention plays a pivotal role in managing bruxism, offering a range of lifestyle modifications and proactive strategies designed to significantly reduce the incidence of teeth grinding.

How To Stop Teeth Grinding: Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes can significantly help in preventing teeth grinding. This includes managing stress, avoiding stimulants like caffeine before bed, and adopting a soothing bedtime routine. Additionally, being mindful of not clenching or grinding during the day and practising relaxation techniques can also help in reducing bruxism.

How To Stop Teeth Grinding: Stress Management Techniques

Stress is a primary factor in teeth grinding. Adopting effective stress management techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, regular exercise, and even counselling can help reduce the incidence of bruxism. These techniques not only help in relaxing the jaw muscles but also improve overall mental health.

Treatment Options for Teeth Grinding

There are various treatments available for those who suffer from severe bruxism.

How To Stop Teeth Grinding: Dental Treatment

Dental interventions for treating bruxism include the use of custom-fitted mouthguards to prevent grinding, corrective procedures for improperly aligned teeth, and restorative treatments for damaged teeth. Exercises to strengthen and relax the jaw muscles may also be recommended as part of the treatment plan.

The Role of Mouthguards and Splints

Mouthguards and splints play a crucial role in protecting teeth from the effects of grinding. They act as a barrier between the top and bottom teeth, reducing the stress on the jaw and preventing wear and tear on the tooth enamel. Custom-made devices are often more effective and comfortable.

how to stop teeth grinding

How to stop grinding teeth? Mouthguards and splints act as a barrier between the top and bottom teeth, reducing the stress on the jaw and preventing wear and tear on the tooth enamel.

Home Remedies and Self-Care Strategies

Simple home remedies and self-care tactics can play a significant role in managing mild to moderate teeth grinding.

How To Stop Teeth Grinding: Exercises and Techniques to Relax Jaw Muscles

Exercises that focus on relaxing and strengthening the jaw muscles can be an effective way to manage teeth grinding. These might include gentle stretching, massaging the jaw, and practising proper tongue and jaw positioning. A physical therapist or a dentist can provide specific guidance on these exercises.

How To Stop Teeth Grinding: Effective Nighttime Routines

Creating a calming nighttime routine is vital in preventing sleep bruxism. This can include activities like reading, listening to soothing music, or practising relaxation techniques before bed. It’s also beneficial to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and create a comfortable, stress-free sleep environment.

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FAQs

Below you can find more FAQs about how to stop teeth grinding. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information, or you can use the online form to book an appointment.

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?

People often grind their teeth due to a variety of reasons. Stress and anxiety are common triggers, causing individuals to unconsciously clench and grind their teeth, a habit that can persist even during sleep. Misaligned or crooked teeth can also contribute to this condition. In some cases, grinding is a response to pain elsewhere in the body, such as neck pain.

How Do I Find Out If I Grind My Teeth?

Determining if you grind your teeth often involves noticing specific symptoms. These include waking up with a sore jaw or sore teeth, which are tell-tale signs of nocturnal teeth grinding. Some individuals may also experience frequent headaches or earaches upon waking. Often, a sleeping partner might hear the sound of grinding teeth at night. A dental examination is the most conclusive way to confirm if you are grinding your teeth.

Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?

Teeth grinding is harmful because it can lead to several dental and health issues. Continuously grinding your teeth can wear down tooth enamel, causing sore teeth and increasing the risk of dental decay. The habit puts excessive strain on the jaw, leading to a sore jaw and can contribute to TMJ disorders. Over time, chronic tooth grinding can also result in severe headaches and neck pain.

Do Children Grind Their Teeth?

Yes, children can grind their teeth, a condition often observed when baby teeth emerge and again when permanent teeth come in. This grinding might be due to discomfort from the new teeth, misalignment, or even as a response to stress. While many children outgrow tooth grinding as their teeth and jaws develop properly, it’s important to monitor the condition to ensure it doesn’t cause damage to their developing teeth or lead to a sore jaw.

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Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh
About The Author

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Catherine-Anne is a New Zealand-qualified dentist. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Sydney University and she has a broad range of experiences from working in both the public and private sector.

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