Teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism, is a common complaint in adults that can be painful, uncomfortable and can cause ear ache and consistent jaw pain as you subconsciously grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Teaching yourself to stop grinding your teeth can be a lengthy process but well worth it, as you’ll suffer from mouth complaints such as abnormal bites, crooked teeth, and in extreme cases even grinding your teeth away and requiring reconstructive surgery. Here’s our 7 step plan to stop teeth grinding so you can take back control over this bad habit.
- Reduce stress
In the majority of cases, people who habitually grind their teeth suffer from stress. In many cases they won’t even be aware that they’re doing it, or do it while sleeping which is what makes it harder to control. The first step on the plan to stop teeth grinding is to try and reduce the stress you feel – there are lots of ways to do this; find time to relax before bed, exercise, yoga, changing your diet and stress management techniques, which you can read more about here.
- Identify areas of your life which cause you anxiety
Anxiety and stress often go hand in hand, and once you sit down and identify the areas where you feel anxious you might start to see patterns – perhaps you grind your teeth more on a Sunday night while you sleep as you’re anxious about work on a Monday? Perhaps you have a holiday coming up and you’re worried about travelling? Once you identify the triggers that cause you anxiety, you can start to take corrective action and save your teeth.
- Learn to consciously relax your jaw muscles during the day
If you’re grinding your teeth during the day, you can train yourself to stop this – it will be hard to break this habit, but if you notice yourself clenching, you can immediately try relaxing your jaw. Over time you can train yourself to do this on instinct so that eventually you don’t do it at all.
- Stop chewing gum
Next step in our handy list – get rid of the gum. When you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, your muscles are already overworked so don’t add more fuel to the fire by chewing gum during the day. This repetitive motion will only cause further discomfort and pain.
- Avoid caffeine
Caffeine can make you jittery and this can lead to anxiety which can worsen the issue. Stay away from coffee, tea, chocolate and fizzy drinks before bed and try camomile tea or milk instead to help you relax and get a peaceful night’s sleep.
- Mouth guards or mouth splints
If you feel like you need extra help in overcoming bruxism, speak to your dentist or one of our professional team who can help you with mouth guards to wear while you sleep, to limit the long term damage you’re doing to your teeth. Call us on +353 (0)1 636 0192 to make an appointment.
- Do jaw exercises during the day
Finally, if you want to stop grinding your teeth, we would recommend that you think about starting daily jaw exercises to strengthen your jaw and help to relieve some of the pain you feel as a result of clenching it all the time. Here’s a great list of jaw relaxation exercises to try at home.
Hopefully these steps will help you alleviate some of the discomfort teeth grinding can cause, but if you have any concerns about this or other teeth or gum complaints feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll see how we can help.