How to Stop Grinding your Teeth with Natural Remedies!
Around 33% of people suffer from some kind of teeth grinding and around 10% of those grind their teeth so much and so relentlessly that they can grind their teeth close enough to its core!
The medical term for teeth grinding is, bruxism and it’s a condition that affects people of all ages, from childhood through to the adulthood. It can cause jaw disorders, headaches and severe damage to your teeth.
If you’re reading this I can only guess that you have, or think you have, bruxism to a certain level. For most people, it gets worse at night since you can’t control what you do during your sleep and so you won’t know you’re doing it unless a dentist or sleeping partner mentions it. By this point, you could have been grinding your teeth for months or maybe even years before you get properly diagnosed, however, at this point, severe damage may have already been done.
Bruxism – what is it?
There are two types of bruxism:
- Daytime teeth grinding
- Sleep Bruxism
Daytime teeth grinding usually occurs when you are experiencing anxiety or if you are under stress, however, it could just be a bad habit that you need to kick.
On the other hand, sleep bruxism is a classed as a sleep-related disorder, similar to restless legs syndrome. People who suffer from more than one sleep-related disorder usually tend to suffer from snoring and sleep apnea.
Even though it is common in adults, children and teenagers are also known to have bruxism and if so, it should be taken very seriously. Past studies have shown that up to 30% of children grind their teeth.
This is often a sign that the top set of teeth aren’t properly in line with their bottom set. If you think this is the case for your child then consult a dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible.
Next, let’s go through the common symptoms which are commonly associated with bruxism.
Bruxism – common symptoms
Your dentist might be one of the first people who notices if you grind your teeth or not. They will see the damage done not only to your teeth but to your gums as well. No matter how you grind your teeth, whether it be during the day or during the night, you might not aware of your bruxism until complications start to crop up.
Below are a few signs of teeth grinding:
- Tight and tired jaw muscles
- Having fractured, chipped or flat teeth
- If your sleeping partner is awoken due to the loud sounds of teeth grinding
- If your jaw or face is sore or in pain
- An off and on again dull headache in the temples
- Sore spots in your mouth from chewing on your cheeks
To find out more about bruxism and other symptoms, click here.
Children and bruxism
With children, studies have shown that asthma is linked to teeth grinding as well as upper airway infections. Recent research has shown teeth grinding in children is also related to respiratory issues. The research shows that just over 60% of children with bruxism had acute upper respiratory problems, while respiratory problems can cause teeth grinding, if your child also has chronic asthma problems, make sure to take regular trips to the dentist in order to catch bruxism before permanent damage develops.
Studies have shown that there is a direct link between a person having anxiety disorder and grinding their teeth. From a dental point of view, children that are diagnosed with anxiety disorder should have regular dental check-ups, so they can prevent chipping or breaking of teeth and making long-term harm to the enamel of their teeth.
More so, there is evidence that some children begin to start grinding their teeth as a natural response to pain. However, you needn’t worry to much as these phases are usually temporary due to growing pains or teething.
Another thing to note is that children who tend to be hyperactive and intrusive, have been found to be more likely develop bruxism.
However, when it comes to adults, bruxism gets a little more complicated…
Teeth grinding in adults can mean multiple underlying issues and medical conditions such as:
- Unmanaged stress
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Anxiety disorder
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Unresolved anger issues
- Unusual alignment of upper and lower teeth
How do you treat bruxism?
There are many ways to treat bruxism. If you think you have it then book an appointment with your dentist immediately before the condition worsens. They will then assess what would be best to treat it.
Below are some of the treatment options for bruxism:
Prescription muscle relaxants
As mentioned above, bruxism can be caused due to stress, anxiety or depression. While muscle relaxants may be effective, you need to be safe and investigate what the potential side effects are and which are common with prescribed muscle relaxants.
If the issue is caused due to an unusual alignment of your teeth, then a great long-term solution is to simply correct the alignment. If you go and see an orthodontist or dentist then they might recommend using crowns, oral surgery or braces, to make the teeth align properly.
They may even offer to reshape the chewing surface of the teeth to correct the alignment!
A mouth guard, or an occlusal splint is the most commonly used treatment for bruxism. Using a custom-made mouth guard specifically designed for your teeth to stay separated to prevent further damage from clenching and grinding. The only negative point about a mouth guard is that they aren’t very comfortable, but they are one of the best ways to help with bruxism.
How to naturally treat bruxism
The following treatments may reduce pain in the face and ears, provide relief and prevent further damage to the teeth. However, whether these treatments will work for you or not depends on the root cause of your bruxism.
Not only does Vitamin C help you in preventing teeth grinding but it also is a big boost to your stress management and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Boosting your vitamin C intake can be greatly beneficial when learning to stop grinding your teeth. Our adrenal glands use Vitamin C, which helps regulate your mood as well as affecting your reaction to stress.
Foods which are rich in vitamin C include:
- Red peppers
- Green Peppers
- Black currants
These foods are the best for trying to kick the habit of grinding your teeth.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
The journal, General Dentistry published a study saying that an interdisciplinary approach which included an occlusal splint coupled with cognitive behavioural therapy was far more effective then just an occlusal splint on its own. The researchers working on the study found that combining the two made for much more effective results, achieving muscle relaxation and overall better end result.
The reason behind the cognitive behavioural therapy is that over time it will help you master the proper mouth and jaw positioning.
Taking care of your stress levels
This is much easier said than done however, if you are grinding your teeth during the day, the most likely cause of this is anxiety or stress. If this is the case for you, the best way to naturally remedy this is to learn how to vent your stress through an activity like physical exercise, meditation, yoga, music or whatever your muse is, use it to manage your stress / anxiety. However, it’s also important to have a balanced diet, not just for your stress but for your general health as well.
If your anxiety is causing your teeth to grind during the day, it could be a sign of magnesium deficiency. There are a few signs of magnesium deficiency such as anxiety, insomnia, hyperactivity, restlessness and irritability.
If you are an adult, then a good way to fix this is to take a magnesium supplement. If you take 400 milligrams of a high-quality magnesium supplement before bed you should start to see results within a few weeks. For children, we recommend following the RDAs provided by The National Institute of Health for the best results.
Similarly, to Vitamin C and magnesium, B vitamins have a big impact on our all overall health and well-being.
Being efficient in vitamin B is crucial as a deficiency in vitamin B can cause mental stress, anxiety attacks and even depression. Vitamin B could be a vital part of trying to overcome teeth grinding.
Below are the recommended amounts of vitamin B you should take by age:
1-3 years old = 2 milligrams
4-8 years old = 3 milligrams
9-13 years old = 4 milligrams
Men and women 14 years old and older = 5 milligrams
Pregnant women = 6 milligrams
Breastfeeding women = 7 milligrams
If you leave bruxism untreated, it can lead to long-term dental issues which includes broken or chipped teeth, chronic pain in the jaws, face and ears and worn enamel. If you believe you have sleep bruxism then and this is left untreated then it could lead to poor sleep quality and sleep apnea.
No matter what kind of bruxism you have, it’s important that you find the right treatment which suits your condition.
Here are a few final points to summarise:
- In children, bruxism could be due to an anxiety disorder, upper respiratory infection, an allergy or asthma. Make sure they get regular dental check-ups!
- Bruxism is a severe condition that can cause some real damage to your gums and teeth.
- One of the best treatments for bruxism is a mouth guard but when it’s coupled with cognitive behaviour therapy it can really boost the condition.
- With adults, bruxism can be caused due to an underlying medical condition. If you treat the root cause you mays get then this might provide relief.
- One in three people regularly grind their teeth