Teeth grinding affects millions of people. The medical term for the condition is bruxism. When it comes down to it, teeth grinding and clenching can cause everything from severe migraines to cavities. It causes cavities, because when you grind your teeth, you are essentially wearing away the enamel. When that happens, you are leaving your teeth vulnerable to infections. This is why you want to get to the bottom of why you are experiencing bruxism. It may be that you are stressed out – financial or marital worries can worsen bruxism. Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can also cause bruxism. Here are some easy solutions to stop teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
- Practice meditation. One of the biggest causes of teeth grinding and teeth clenching is stress. This is why you want to practice relaxing before you go to bed. If you are stressed out about work, you may want to take a step back and decompress before you get into bed. The last thing you want is to come home from work and go straight to bed without decompressing.
- Refrain from drinking caffeine before bedtime. Caffeine is another cause of teeth grinding – or it can make the habit worse. When you drink caffeine and go to bed, parts of your brain are still wired, so your body may try to expend some of that energy by clenching. If you love coffee or tea, you may want to refrain from drinking these beverages right before bed. Ideally, you want to cut out caffeinated beverages at least three hours before you go to bed.
- Don’t drink alcohol before you have to sleep. It is also important to not drink alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can also cause parts of your brain to fire when you are asleep, which can make clenching worse. Instead of drinking that nightcap, you may want to stick to something that isn’t alcoholic, like juice or water. You may even want to consume a beverage that helps you relax, like hot decaffeinated tea or warm milk – anything that will help fix your hankering for something to drink, but that will also make you feel more relaxed.
- Wear a night guard. Wearing a teeth grinding guard will also help you stop clenching your teeth. When it comes down to it, one of the most commonly prescribed treatment methods for teeth grinding is a guard. The guard is usually worn over your teeth at night. A night guard will not only prevent grinding – it will also train your mouth to stop clenching. Once your mouth gets used to not grinding, you can remove the night guard.
- Visit a dentist. It is also critical that you visit a dentist. Not only will a dentist be able to fit your teeth for a night guard, he or she will also develop other treatment options that could help your bruxism. A dentist may recommend a procedure that aligns your bite. In the end, if bruxism is starting to take over your life, it is definitely time to do something about it.