Bruxism explained: How to stop teeth grinding in sleep?

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Most of us occasionally clench our jaws or grind our teeth, especially when we are angry or perhaps nervous, and that’s normal. But for some of us, teeth grinding can become a subconscious problem that usually occurs during sleep through the night - a phenomenon that is known as sleep or nocturnal bruxism. This can exacerbate serious issues for the teeth, and it is probably best if it is treated early on. In this article, let us explore sleep bruxism in detail.

Why does sleep bruxism occur?

There can be several factors which can lead to grinding teeth in sleep. Many times, it is caused by stress and anxiety, and can also be a result of treating psychological disorders such as certain medications like antidepressants or antipsychotics. In some cases, the reason can be an abnormal bite, which means that the teeth do not meet and fit together properly when the jaw closes. It can also occur due to crooked or missing teeth. Other possible causes for teeth grinding in sleep could be sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, fatigue, alcohol consumption, smoking, or neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease.

How to recognize grinding teeth in sleep?

Most people are unaware of grinding teeth at night. If you want to find out whether you are grinding your teeth subconsciously, these are the signs you should look out for:

  • Dull, constant headache

  • Jaw pain or stiffness when you wake up in the morning

  • Sore gums

  • Loose, sensitive, or broken teeth

  • Popping or clicking of jaw joints

  • Sometimes earache can also occur

Also look out for other emotional issues along with these symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and eating disorders. However, some people can grind their teeth even without having any underlying emotional issues.

Please note: If you suffer from bruxism, then your teeth need special care to recover from the damage. It is crucial to maintain a good oral care routine during bruxism treatment, and Oral-B Vitality 100 Criss Cross Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush can help you with that. It comes with an in-built two-minute timer to let you know when to stop brushing. And with 2D Cleaning Action, it oscillates and rotates to remove plaque effectively and give you superior care.

How to stop bruxism in sleep?

There are many possible measures one can undertake to stop grinding teeth at night. Here are some possible bruxism treatment remedies for the same:

  1. Mouthguard:

    Sleep bruxism can be helped using a mouthguard or night guard for sleep. They cushion the teeth and stop them from grinding against each other during sleep, especially in case of chronic sleep bruxism. Mouthguards can be made at the dentist’s office or can be purchased over the counter.

    Custom-made mouthguards can be built in different degrees of thickness and can be made to fit specifically to the individual’s jaw size and shape. OTC or over the counter mouthguards are made up of plastic and may not be as comfortable; moreover, they may not be as effective as custom-made mouthguards to treat severe sleep bruxism.

  2. Reductive coronoplasty:

    Grinding teeth at night can also be treated using a dental procedure called reductive coronoplasty, in which the biting surface of the teeth is reshaped or levelled. This is especially effective in cases where the teeth grinding is happening due to misaligned, crooked, or crowded teeth. In some cases, the teeth are built up using a second procedure called additive coronoplasty.

  3. Biofeedback:

    Grinding teeth at night can also be treated using a dental procedure called reductive coronoplasty, in which the biting surface of the teeth is reshaped or levelled. This is especially effective in cases where the teeth grinding is happening due to misaligned, crooked, or crowded teeth. In some cases, the teeth are built up using a second procedure called additive coronoplasty.

  4. Reducing stress:

    Since for some people, bruxism occurs due to underlying stress or anxiety, it can be helpful to first work on reducing stress. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, therapy, exercise, journaling, and eating a nutritious diet can help to reduce stress and anxiety in the long run. These can also help alleviate depression and other emotional disorders. It is best to consult a psychiatrist or a counsellor who can guide you through it.

  5. Jaw muscle and tongue exercises:

    Doing certain jaw muscle and tongue exercises can help you relax the facial muscles and the jaw and help maintain proper alignment of the jaw. A physical therapist can help you with these exercises to help avoid clenching and keep the jaw relaxed.

  6. Bruxism can be treated with the proper interventions. However, due to the toll it can take on the teeth, it is crucial to take good care of oral health while you are recovering from it. Visit the dentist to chart out the treatment course and maintain good oral hygiene. It is important to use advanced dental products such as the Oral-B electric toothbrush during the treatment.