Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a pretty common habit and can have some serious consequences in the future. Whether you grind your teeth because of stress or a sleep disorder, your teeth will wear down and become susceptible to chips and cracks. Grinding your teeth too often can lead to other issues, including earaches, headaches and even facial myalgia, according to the Bruxism Association.
Bruxism can be a difficult habit to break, but it is possible. If you recognize that this habit is harmful and take the necessary steps to treat it, you will be more likely to break the habit. Here are some helpful tips on how to stop teeth grinding once and for all:
Limit the Amount of Alcohol You Drink
If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, do not drink too many alcoholic beverages, especially before bedtime. Drinking alcohol can disrupt your sleep and make you more likely to grind your teeth at night.
Manage Stress in Your Life
The more stress you have in your life, the more likely you are to grind your teeth. If you make an effort to cut the stress out of your life, you can stop grinding your teeth. Start out by determining the major sources of stress in your life. For example, if you have too many projects at work now, talk to your boss about reducing some of your workload. It is also helpful to begin the day with a relaxing activity, such as meditation or yoga. Afterward, you will feel much more calm and ready to tackle the day.
Talk to Your Dentist About Mouth Guards
If you have a severe case of bruxism, a mouth guard might be necessary. This device will fit comfortably in your mouth and keep you from clenching down on your pearly whites. Colgate recommends getting a mouth guard if you have chipped a tooth, wake up with headaches, take antidepressants or have temporomandibular joint disorder. Mouth guards are available at the drugstore, but they might not fit properly inside your mouth. Your dentist can give you a custom mouth guard that will feel more comfortable.
Do not Chew on Non-Edible Items
Chewing on non-edible items, such as pens and clothing tags, will not just wear down the enamel of your teeth; it can also increase teeth grinding. When you bite down on non-edible items, your mouth will get used to clenching. The next time you have the urge to chew a non-edible item, try chewing gum.
Relax Yourself Before Bedtime
Another effective way to reduce teeth grinding is to relax your body before bedtime. For example, you could place a warm washcloth on your jaw and hold it there for several minutes. If your jaw muscles are relaxed, you will be less likely to grind your teeth. It is also a good idea to turn off electronic devices right before bedtime. Listening to soft music or reading a book will be much more relaxing.
Become More Aware of Teeth Grinding
Sometimes you may grind your teeth during the day and not even notice that you are doing it. In order to quit this habit, it's important to become more aware. If you have the urge to grind your teeth, try to do something else. For instance, you could place your tongue between your teeth.
Do not allow yourself to suffer the consequences of teeth grinding. If you follow these helpful tips, you can quit this habit and have much healthier teeth. If it takes longer than expected to break this habit, be patient and keep your head up.