How to Prevent Grinding Your TeethBy Dr Anthony Hua
Grinding of the teeth is estimated to significantly affect around 1 in 20 adults and 3 in 10 children in Australia. If left undiagnosed and untreated, the condition, also known as Bruxism, can lead to long-term tooth and jaw damage.
The problem is many sufferers are not aware they are doing it. Most teeth grinding and clenching happens involuntarily during the night while sleeping. This makes trying to prevent it difficult.
But don’t worry, if you or someone you know suffers from teeth grinding, there are some steps you can take that can help to reduce teeth grinding. In this blog, we’ll look at 7 ways you can reduce bruxism in both adults and children.
Wear an Occlusal Splint
While an occlusal splint won’t necessarily prevent you from grinding your teeth, it will help to protect your teeth from its effects. This is important because it can take several weeks to months for Bruxism therapies to work and there is a risk your teeth will be irreparably damaged if you don’t protect them.
Both custom-made and universal occlusal splints are available. Both are effective, but custom occlusal splints are more comfortable, allowing you to get a good night’s sleep. Universal guards are cost-effective, but many patients find them too uncomfortable, which often results in them not being used at all.
Teeth grinding is often the result of stress, so anything you do to help reduce the symptoms of stress will help reduce teeth grinding. Exercise is proven to be one of the most effective stress busters, so start exercising regularly two to three times a week. Nothing too strenuous is required, a long walk or bike ride is often enough.
Drink herbal tea
Herbal tea can help to relax your body and mind, while warm water will help to relax the jaw muscles. Try drinking a cup of warm herbal tea just before bedtime. Always check the ingredients though, you should avoid any teas that contain caffeine and sugars as this can increase muscle activity and disrupt sleep patterns.
Massage your jaw
One of the early symptoms of teeth grinding is a sore or inflamed jaw. You will most likely notice this in the morning or throughout the day, especially when eating. If you feel discomfort, try massaging your jaw muscles to help release the tension. While this won’t stop you from grinding your teeth, it should provide some immediate relief.
Stop chewing gum
The repetitive motion of chewing gum trains your jaw to clench and unclench during the day. This can increase the risk of teeth grinding at night. So, try to avoid any habits that lead you to tighten your jaw muscles. This includes chewing gum, biting your fingernails, and eating overly chewy foods.
Drinking alcohol just before bedtime can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to dehydration. Both are thought to increase the risk of teeth grinding. So, avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime. Ideally, you should have your last drink at least a couple of hours before you go to bed. A glass of water before bedtime can also help to reduce dehydration.
Get help preventing teeth grinding
Dr Anthony Hua is one of the Gold Coast’s leading dentists and can help to diagnose and treat your teeth grinding. If you are suffering from Bruxism and have tried several home remedies without success, schedule an appointment with our expert team today. Our dental practice is conveniently located in the heart of the Gold Coast at Burleigh Heads. Complete the contact form or give us a call on 07 5576 6208 to schedule an appointment to discuss your teeth grinding concerns.
Article by Dr Anthony Hua – Principal Dentist
Dr Anthony Hua is the Founder & Principal Dentist at Burleigh Dental Studio. His passion, expertise and dedication to the field of dentistry have been recognised by his achievement of Fellowship status with the Australian Society of Implant Dentistry (ASID) and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI).
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