Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding. There are two types of bruxism – awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. Awake bruxism is when you unconsciously clench your teeth while awake. This issue is most common in individuals who are under a lot of stress or anxiety. Sleep bruxism is classified as a sleep-related movement disorder where you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping, and its side effects include sleep apnea and snoring.
Common Symptoms Of Bruxism
Sometimes, people don’t notice the signs of bruxism, and it takes a dentist to determine if any damage has been done to their teeth. Other times, they see the signs themselves. Signs of excessive grinding include but are not limited to:
- Fractured, chipped, loose, or flat teeth
- Decaying enamel
- Sensitivity with hot, cold, and sweets
- Jaw soreness
- Dull headaches
- Ear pain
- Sores inside the mouth
- Indentations on the tongue
Causes And Risk Factors Of Bruxism
Bruxism in children can be linked to asthma and anxiety disorders. If your child suffers from chronic asthma, have them checked for bruxism to identify any grinding before it becomes an issue.
Anxiety can also lead to bruxism, so children with anxiety should also be checked. These factors are not limited to children. Adults with asthma or anxiety must also be cautious of bruxism and identify any problems.
Bruxism in adults may be accompanied by one of the following disorders:
- Sleep apnea
- Anxiety disorder
- Unmanaged stress, unresolved anger or frustration
- Abnormal teeth alignment
Conventional Treatments For Bruxism
Your dentist can to create a specialized treatment plan for your case of bruxism. Common treatment plans include:
A custom-made mouth guard or splint can be designed and moulded to mouth to prevent further damage to the teeth from grinding. Visit a Milton Keynes dentist to discuss if a mouth guard is a good solution for your bruxism issues.
Correcting misalignment to prevent further grinding is a great long-term solution. Alignment can be corrected using braces, crowns, surgery, and other orthodontic methods.
Prescription Muscle Relaxers Or Antidepressants
Prescribing these drugs allows anxious patients to relax, reducing their anxiety and grinding.
Botox injections can be used to treat patients who were non-responsive to conventional treatments. Botox can be useful in reducing the chronic muscle pain that comes along with severe cases of bruxism.
Natural Treatments To Treat And Eliminate Bruxism
If you are looking for ways to reduce the discomfort resulting from bruxism using more natural solutions, or want to pursue alternative solutions at home, try these:
Habitual grinding and gnashing of the teeth create tense, sore jaw muscles. Applying heat to the area allows the muscles to relax and prevents teeth grinding. Take a washcloth soaked in hot water and apply it with pressure to the affected area.
Massage the Muscles
To relieve tension in the muscles and reduce discomfort, massage the neck, shoulders, and jaw area in circular motions for a few minutes before bed. Relieving the tension that builds up in the masticatory muscles may reduce clenching during sleep.
Lavender has a significant calming effect on the body. Massage lavender oil into the neck and jaw area once during the day and once before bed for the best results.
Herbal teas like green tea and chamomile tea are great for relaxing the body, mind, and facial muscles before bed. Try drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed. Add lemon juice and honey for taste.
Heat one cup of milk until it boils, add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to the milk, and mix until you achieve a mustard color. Add a tablespoon of honey for taste. This mixture can help relieve pain in the jaw if you drink it before bed.
Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium and magnesium supplements have properties that foster strong teeth and proper muscle functioning. Dissolve the powdered supplements in orange juice or grapefruit juice - 600 milligrams calcium and 300 milligrams magnesium to start - and drink this daily for one to two months for the best results.
Vitamin C supplements can increase control of muscle movements. Try implementing foods high in vitamin C into your diet.
Breathing exercises help you de-stress and relax before bed, making you less likely to grind your teeth in your sleep.
Regular exercise will keep you less stressed and help you sleep well. Before bed, take a short walk or engage in another mild form of exercise to prevent grinding in your sleep.
Mild cases improve over time if we practice following these simple, natural solutions, but more severe cases may require the use of a mouth guard or other dental accessory.
Susan Louisa works at Oxford House Dental Practice, a pioneer in quality dentistry since its establishment in 1954. With its large, private car park, familiar exterior, friendly attitude of surgeons and the full range of dental treatments, it is a well-known dentist in Milton Keynes, England.