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Overcoming Teeth Grinding Habits

Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of life. But for people suffering from Bruxism, this necessity to rest proves to be a big ask. Bruxism is the medical term for unconscious teeth grinding or jaw clenching habits; especially during sleep or while under stress[1].

Whether sufferers habitually slide their teeth back and forth or tightly hold their top and bottom teeth together for several episodes, the results are still damaging[2]. And it can be so severe that sufferers of the disorder can render their teeth to the point where they become totally useless.

Additionally, Bruxism can lead to more serious problems such as Temporomandibular Joint Problems (TMJ) since teeth clenching puts increased amounts of pressure on the tissues, muscles and structures surrounding the jaw[3].

Symptoms of Bruxism

Do your teeth feel extra sensitive than usual? Are you waking up with a tense and painful jaw, a dull headache or an ear ache? Has somebody commented that you make loud, ghastly grinding noises sporadically throughout the night? Perhaps your dentist identified some worn out teeth or signs of fractured tooth enamel at your regular dental assessment? If you’ve answered yes to any of the aforementioned questions, then it’s possible you might suffer from Bruxism.

Treating Bruxism

There are several methods to treat Bruxism[4]. Some aim to help sufferers overcome the disorder, while others reduce pain and discomfort, prevent further permanent damage to teeth and reduce clenching and grinding as much as possible. These include:

  • Wearing a mouth guard or splint while sleeping. These can be custom-made by your dentist to fit comfortably around your teeth for prevention purposes.
  • Implementing relaxing techniques and meditation into your daily routine to alleviate everyday stress levels.
  • Learning physical therapy stretching exercises in order to restore natural movements to the muscles and joints surrounding the jaw.
  • Acquiring new fillings, crowns or orthodontics to correct an uneven bite, which may be causing Bruxism.
  • Avoid eating hard and ultra chewy food such as nuts, apples, caramel lollies and steak to prevent further damage to already affected teeth.
  • Applying frozen ice packs to alleviate your tense and painful jaw.

References:

Rugh, John D., and Jay Harlan. “Nocturnal bruxism and temporomandibular disorders.” Advances in neurology 49 (1987): 329-341.

Tsai, Vivian, and Rick Kulkarni. “Temporomandibular Joint syndrome.” (2010).


[1] Rugh, John D., and Jay Harlan. “Nocturnal bruxism and temporomandibular disorders.” Advances in neurology 49 (1987): 329-341.

[2] Rugh, John D., and Jay Harlan. “Nocturnal bruxism and temporomandibular disorders.” Advances in neurology 49 (1987): 329-341.

[3] Tsai, Vivian, and Rick Kulkarni. “Temporomandibular Joint syndrome.” (2010).

[4] Rugh, John D., and Jay Harlan. “Nocturnal bruxism and temporomandibular disorders.” Advances in neurology 49 (1987): 329-341.

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