A List of Ways to Stop Bruxismhttps://www.grfamilydental.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/teeth-grinding-dentists-in-grand-rapids-mi.jpg 700 400 Grand Rapids MI Dentist Grand Rapids MI Dentist https://www.grfamilydental.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/teeth-grinding-dentists-in-grand-rapids-mi.jpg
The term “bruxism” is what dentists refer to as grinding your teeth at night. Over 8% of adults suffer from it and it can cause future pains like headaches and tooth damage. As your Grand Rapids dental practice, we don’t want you to have to battle bruxism. If you’re looking for some relief ideas, this guide is for you.
Practice Deep Breathing
A few deep breaths before bed or throughout the day can go a long way. Stress is arguably the number one cause of grinding your teeth at night so if something is bugging you, try to breathe it out.
A good technique is to breathe from the diaphragm rather than the chest and to inhale for 3 counts and exhale for 3 counts. It’s also best to practice your breathing in an area free from distractions until you’ve mastered it in busier environments.
Even while you sleep, your subconscious has been known to continue working on things that bother you or cause stress. This causes your body to then act on those stressors by grinding your teeth.
Find Ways to Relax
Everyone’s stress relief remedy is different. You may need to visit a professional psychologist to vocalize your stressors and work through them. Another idea is to adjust your nightly routine. Do something that calms you down and puts your mind at ease.
Here’s a quick list of tips:
- Avoid blue light (i.e. computer or phone screens)
- Avoid intense mental stimulation
- Read a book
- Watch a calming TV show
- Listen to calming music
- Practice meditation
- Take 10-15 minutes to enjoy doing nothing
- Drink a cup of decaf tea
Try Wearing a Night Guard
Protective options are sometimes the most intimidating for people, but they shouldn’t be. Custom night guards are completely normal and can free you from a lot of pain!
If you’re suffering from bruxism we may suggest a night guard to help prevent further oral damages. We don’t recommend wearing a store-bought mouth guard as they won’t always fit your mouth specifically, which can cause future complications.
A night guard is also different from a sports guard. All of our night guards (and sports guards) are custom made to fit you individually so you can get the best night’s sleep every night.
Take a Hiatus from Caffeine and Alcohol
Our bodies react in unique ways to things like caffeine and alcohol. You may find that after a late-night brew or glass of wine, you’re prone to grinding your teeth at night a lot more. In addition, if you drink a lot of caffeine throughout the day, you may be feeling its ramifications while you sleep.
To save yourself from morning headaches and a painful jaw, try cutting these beverages out for a few days.
Give Yourself a Gentle Jaw Massage
Taking five minutes to gently massage your jaw can help alleviate pressure and jaw pain.
As your family dentist, we recommend incorporating a hot washcloth into your routine as the heat works to relax your mouth the same way you’d relax a muscle. A heating pad or the act of taking a hot bath or shower works great as well.
We usually recommend the hot bath or shower because taking one at night can help calm you down for a better night’s rest.
Try Not to Snack
Of course, you still have to eat. However, it is best to avoid chewing on things like snacks, gum, or other candies. Foods like steak, popcorn, and other extremely chewy things also might exhaust your jaw and hurt your teeth if you’ve been suffering from bruxism at night.
You don’t have to cut these foods out of your diet forever, but until you’re able to get back to a normal sleeping routine you might want to avoid them. Cutting them out won’t instantly cure you of bruxism, but it will help your jaw relax during the day, which can keep it from becoming agitated at night.
Pick up an Extracurricular Activity
If you didn’t know, healthy exercise and hobbies can help alleviate stress. Because most bruxism is caused by stress, this tip is very helpful.As your Grand Rapids family dental group, we want to encourage extracurricular activities. Fitting an exercise routine into your day for at least 15-30 minutes can work wonders for your mental (and physical) health.
A captivating hobby also gives you something to think about or look forward to, which works in battling stress. Rather than lying awake at night with worries, you can think about things you enjoy like sports, projects, or creative ideas.
Don’t Bite on Your Pen
Do you chew on your pens? Or pencils?
Chewing on objects can cause tooth pain and dental damage, and it can confuse your mind. When you munch on things that aren’t food throughout the day, your brain and jaw get used to clenching.
This becomes a problem at night when you’re trying to relax, and your brain doesn’t know whether to bite down on something or not. To prevent this, try to find other ways to fidget, or chew on soft foods like bread or yogurt.
It may sound kind of crazy, but hypnosis is a way to help with bruxism. Don’t think sitting in a chair with a magician waving a spinning dial–it’s not like that. According to The Bruxism Association, hypnosis works as a behavioral approach to teeth grinding. By training your brain while awake, you can teach your brain to not grind your teeth while asleep.
Ready to Stop Battling Bruxism?
As your Grand Rapids MI dentists, GR Family Dental wants to make sure all your dental needs are met. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us online or by phone at (616) 455-3020. If we haven’t met you yet, feel free to reach out and request an appointment!
This blog post has been updated.