5 SIMPLE Tips: How to stop grinding your teeth while sleeping!

Medically referred to as bruxism, teeth grinding affects approximately one out of five adults in the world. This roughly equates to about 20% of the world’s adult population [1]. Similar to many other bad habits out there, it’s very hard to quit teeth grinding, especially if it occurs while you’re sleeping.

According to findings from one scientific study [2], about one in every 12 adults grinds their teeth while sleeping and the American Dental Association reports identify stress and anxiety as the main causes of sleep bruxism.

I know the stakes are high because everyone is still anxious about this deadly pandemic.

The risks of sleep bruxism vary from person to person but if left unchecked for a very long time, it can lead to serious oral problems such as receding gums, jaw pains, and loss of enamel.

Therefore, here are our five simple tips on how to stop grinding teeth while sleeping.

Stress Reduction

Stress is one of the primary causes of teeth grinding while sleeping. Stress generally tightens muscles around the neck, upper back, and jaw areas, making it very hard to have a restful night.

Therefore toning down your overall stress levels will help stop grinding your teeth at night.

For better success, you must incorporate an effective stress management strategy with different therapies designed to boost both tissue and muscle relaxation. Some of the simplest stress reduction exercises that you can quickly try out include meditation, yoga practices, journaling, jogging, and cycling [3].

For more advanced options, feel free to engage in high-intensity interval training exercises.

Tongue and Jaw Exercises

Since sleep bruxism results largely from involuntary jaw muscle contractions, engaging in tongue and jaw exercises helps the muscles relax [4] and prevent teeth grinding in bed. Normal jaw functioning is usually controlled by four small muscles.

Tightening of these muscles at night aggravates teeth grinding while sleeping. Engaging these muscles in a soothing self-massage relaxes the muscles and helps release tension held in the jaw area that initiates teeth grinding while sleeping.

Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback is a special process that enables one to become more aware of the normal physical functions of their body. As the name suggests, this mind-body technique uses biological feedback systems to gain control over involuntary actions such as teeth grinding while sleeping [5].

In this practice, you’ll be taught how to control jaw movements [6] by the use of vibratory, auditory, and visual feedback produced by a machine called electromyography (EMG). It is one of the simplest though technical ways to stop teeth grinding in your sleep.

However, one research study [7] found out that the biofeedback procedure effectively reduced sleep bruxism actions when done with contingent electrical stimulation (CES) and applied in short-term treatment.

Mouthguards and Splints

Mouthguards, also known as mouth protectors, refer to a type of occlusal splint meant to cushion your teeth and stop you from grinding them [8], especially when you’re sleeping. Mouthguards either can be custom-made or purchased over-the-counter.

Custom-made options are designed to specially fit your jaw size for more comfort and are often prescribed by the dentist to address severe cases. Over-the-counter alternatives can help fix mild teeth grinding and are usually cheaper.

Before buying a mouthguard to help fix your teeth-grinding problem while sleeping, always make sure that it is made of a very soft material [9] that won’t bruise the inside of your mouth while you dream at night. Besides, options that soften when boiled are excellent picks too.

Medical Procedures

Some of the most widely used medical procedures used to treat sleep bruxism include the application of muscle relaxants before bedtime, anxiety/stress-related medications, and botox injections.

All of these procedures are for short-term use and the first two generally require a doctor’s prescription before jumping to buy and use muscle relaxants and antidepressants from your local pharmacy.

Apart from the first two that can be either injected or directly applied on the surface, the latter includes the administration of botulinum toxin (in small quantities) through injections to the masseter muscle (the largest muscle in your jaw area) [10].

Botox generally helps to relax the jaw muscles and is a great way to prevent teeth grinding while sleeping for up to four months [11].

Conclusion

Teeth grinding while sleeping is one of the hardest habits to break because we are often unaware of the action.

Depending on the severity of your case, you can easily use any of the above-discussed simple tips to find relief.

These will help you prevent serious dental complications in the future. Just remember to discuss them with your dentist or doctor first.

Citations

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18557915
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/154411130301400104
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632802
  4. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/stubborn-tmj-pain-try-trigger-point-massage-and-jaw-exercises
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16813476
  6. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/relaxation-techniques-for-health
  7. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/joor.12628
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18557917
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482466
  10. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1875-595X.2011.00085.x
  11. https://www.facialesthetics.org/bruxism
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