If you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth, you might have a condition known as bruxism. Grinding your teeth can wear down or fracture them so it's something you need to combat. Here are four suggestions to help you break this unconscious bad habit.
Stress is a very common cause of teeth grinding, and has plenty of other negative side effects as well. You should make sure you alleviate any stress in your life by exercising, socialising and trying to remain positive, but there are some specific teeth-grinding stressors to watch out for.
Firstly, make sure that you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This helps establish a routine, which lowers your risk of late night stress. You should also make sure you feel relaxed before going to bed. Try reading, watching television, or talking to your partner before you tuck yourself in, and avoid working right before you get your head down.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant. That makes it perfect for providing you with an added dose of pep, but it also makes it difficult to relax while you sleep. Try cutting soft drinks, coffee, tea, and energy drinks from your diet. Of course, you don't have to go without them forever. Ease yourself back in once the problem has subsided by drinking smaller amounts earlier in the day.
You should also resist drinking alcohol, especially before bed. Don't make the mistake of thinking you'll be more relaxed as you sleep; alcohol is a depressant, and it makes healthy napping tricky. You won't sleep as deeply or as restfully, and teeth grinding will probably get worse.
Change Your Chewing Habits
People sometimes begin grinding their teeth due to a habit built up from chewing inedible objects like pencils and pens. This isn't particularly harmful in itself, but you might find yourself unconsciously starting to grind when no chewable object is available. Try to stop yourself from chewing anything but food or gum.
You should also pay attention to yourself during the day to ensure that you aren't frequently clenching your jaw. When this happens, try putting your tongue between your teeth to stop yourself from biting down. Eventually, you will stop clenching without even having to think about it.
Get a Splint or Mouth Guard
If none of these tips work, make sure to visit a dental clinic to learn more about your options. It is possible for relaxants to be prescribed, but mouthguards and splints are generally preferable in the long term. These can be worn at night when the worst grinding tends to occur to prevent you from bringing your teeth together while still allowing you to breathe freely. Several options are available, from over the counter ones to those fitted exactly for your own mouth.
Teeth grinding might seem like a small problem, but the problems caused can be drastic. Make sure you take these steps to help stop your habit.Share
7 May 2015
I have worked as a school nurse for decades. Children come to me with all sorts of scrapes and bumps and bruises. Black eyes from playing football, sprained wrists from falling off the monkey bars and stomachaches from too many sweets are common complaints. However, the issue that seems to cause the greatest angst is tooth problems. Sometimes a child will have a second tooth knocked out when playing sport and parents arrive in tears. At other times, children come to my office crying because their friends are teasing them about teeth that are discoloured or stick out. I take an active interest in the latest dental news so that I can give parents and children comfort and advice. I have included some of my collected wisdom on these pages. Perhaps this information can help you understand some options when faced with a dental problem. Thank you for reading.