Reviewed by Dr. Alan Baughman, DMD, MBA
Are you waking up with a sore jaw or painful teeth? If so, you might suffer from bruxism, a common sleep disorder affecting millions worldwide.
But don’t worry, Clearwater Dentistry has you covered! In this blog post, we’ll discuss bruxism, its symptoms, causes, and treatments available today.
Table of Contents
- What Is Bruxism?
- What Causes Bruxism?
- Do I Grind My Teeth Quiz
- Natural Remedies for Bruxism
- Preserve Your Teeth With Clearwater Dentistry
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth during the daytime or at night. Daytime bruxism is often associated with psychological stress. However, nighttime bruxism can be caused by physiological stress, anxiety, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, abnormal alignment of teeth, and certain medical conditions or medications. It affects both children and adults.
Bruxism can lead to problems such as tooth damage, tooth pain, jaw pain, and sore muscles.
Bruxism, involuntary teeth grinding or clenching, can be reduced with natural remedies. This includes using an occlusal guard, practicing stress reduction techniques and jaw exercises, creating a sleep-friendly environment, and limiting alcohol and caffeine. Consult a dental professional if symptoms persist.
What Causes Bruxism?
Bruxism can be caused by several factors, including:
- Stress and anxiety: People under high levels of stress or anxiety may be more prone to bruxism.
- Sleep disorders: Bruxism has been linked to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
- Abnormal alignment of teeth: Misaligned teeth or an abnormal bite can lead to bruxism.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as antidepressants, have been known to cause or worsen bruxism.
- Lifestyle factors: Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol, smoking, and using recreational drugs can contribute to bruxism.
Do I Grind My Teeth Quiz
If you’re unsure if you might have bruxism, take our quiz! Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I often wake up with jaw pain or facial pain?
- Have I noticed tooth damage or worn tooth enamel?
- Does my partner hear tooth grinding during the night?
- Do I experience headaches or ear pain when waking up?
- Are my teeth sensitive, or do they seem worn down?
You may have bruxism if you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions.
In addition to these symptoms of bruxism, more severe cases may lead to tooth enamel loss, crooked teeth, and sleep disorders.
Consult a dental professional to discuss your symptoms and explore treatment options.
Natural Remedies for Bruxism
For those looking to avoid traditional treatment methods, there are natural remedies for teeth grinding that can help lessen bruxism symptoms. These include:
1. Use an Occlusal Guard
Occlusal night guards, also known as mouth guards or bite guards, are custom-made dental devices that cover your teeth. They prevent direct tooth-to-tooth contact during sleep and reduce muscle tension in your jaw. They are beneficial for individuals with daytime or nighttime bruxism.
At Clearwater Dentistry, we use the latest technology for your custom-made occlusal night guard to keep your teeth safe! Please read our guide on Dental Retainers, Night Guards, and Mouthguards for more information.
2. Practice Stress Reduction Techniques
One of the leading causes of bruxism is stress. Learning stress management techniques like deep breathing exercises, physical exercise, meditation, and yoga can help relax your jaw muscles and help reduce teeth grinding.
3. Exercise Your Jaw Muscles
Gentle jaw stretching exercises can help alleviate the tension in your jaw muscles. Try opening and closing your mouth slowly and gently, turning your head from side to side, and practicing relaxed jaw positioning. These exercises can be easily incorporated into your daily routine to learn how to control the muscle activity in your jaw.
4. Apply a Heating Pad
A heating pad or hot towel on your jaw muscles and facial area before bedtime can help relax your jaw and reduce the chances of clenching and grinding during the night.
5. Maintain a Proper Sleep Environment
Establish a sleep schedule and create a bedtime routine that promotes relaxation. This can include things like drinking herbal tea or taking a warm bath before bed. You can also reduce screen time before bed, use blackout curtains, or incorporate soothing essential oils to help you relax.
6. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Consumption of alcohol and caffeine, particularly before bedtime, can increase the likelihood of teeth grinding during sleep. Reducing or eliminating these substances from your diet may help alleviate bruxism.
Preserve Your Teeth With Clearwater Dentistry
Millions of people suffer from bruxism, which causes teeth grinding and clenching. This can lead to many dental problems, including jaw pain, headaches, fractured or chipped teeth, and worn-down teeth.
At Clearwater Dentistry, our experienced dentist, Dr. Alan Baughman, uses the latest techniques and personalized treatment plans to help alleviate the symptoms and protect your dental health. With our expertise, you can regain a restful night’s sleep and prevent further damage to your teeth.
If you are searching for the best dentist in Greeley, CO, call or text (970) 515-3550 or fill in the online booking form. Don’t let bruxism control your life, schedule a consultation with us today!
Frequently Asked Questions
An occlusal guard is a custom-made dental device that protects your teeth from direct tooth-to-tooth contact during sleep. Your dentist may recommend occlusal guards to prevent teeth grinding.
The best night guard cleaner is one that is designed for that purpose. Cleaners such as Retainer Brite or denture cleansing tablets are designed specifically for mouth guards. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage your occlusal guard.
To clean your mouth guard, gently scrub it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild antibacterial soap. Once a week, soak your mouth guard in Retainer Brite or with a denture cleansing tablet for at least 15 minutes to help disinfect the appliance.
No, occlusal guards are designed to fit comfortably and securely in your mouth and should not obstruct your airway. However, if you experience difficulty breathing or discomfort while wearing an occlusal guard, consult your dentist immediately.
A well-fitting occlusal guard should feel comfortable and secure in your mouth. It should not be too loose or tight, and you should be able to speak and close your mouth comfortably while wearing it.
Yes, occlusal guards can help prevent teeth from shifting or moving by providing a barrier between your upper and lower teeth.This is especially beneficial for those who have had orthodontic treatment to maintain their new tooth alignment.
If you are searching for the best dentist near me or night guards near me, contact Clearwater Dentistry.