Have you ever wondered why you wake up with a sore jaw or a headache every morning? The chances are that both are connected to the act of you grinding your teeth while you’re sleeping. Well, this has to stop right now. This condition also known as Bruxism has recently been linked to another unpleasant condition sleep apnea. This is when your throat muscles relax during the night and block your airway which then interrupts your breathing. Just as with snoring, you can’t control the act of grinding your teeth during sleep because you’re unconscious and unaware that you’re doing it.
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Seven Things that can help prevent Bruxism.
It seems unfair that a nasty habit like grinding your teeth as a pretty name. Bruxism is a para-functional activity of our teeth which means that it’s not what they are actually supposed to do. Yet a lot of people between 8% and 31% of the general population suffer from it. There are two types of Bruxism nocturnal or sleep which happens during the night and awake which goes on during the day.
The reasons why a person has Bruxism can vary and include psychological and genetic factors. A slightly off position of the upper teeth in relation to the lower teeth and certain drugs. Speaking of negative repercussions, there are plenty of them. Your teeth can become more sensitive and start to wear. Your jaw muscles may ache and you can also suffer from headaches. Now according to several studies, Bruxism is also a symptom of sleep apnea more specifically obstructive sleep apnea. This is a serious sleep disorder where the muscles at the back of your throat relax. When this happens, the airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. This may result in snorting, gasping or choking. All of which can deprive you of restful sleep. This is why treating Bruxism is highly recommended.
Now here are some tips to stop that nighttime teeth grinding. Number one avoid caffeine and alcohol. A very simple measure you can take is fixing your diet. What we eat and drink greatly affects all aspects of our well-being and our teeth are no exception. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant that we all turn to when necessary. But you should try to cut back on coffee, coke and energy drinks as they contain very high amounts of caffeine. If you drink them often, you can get too agitated and active during the day making it much harder for you to relax and unwind when it’s bedtime. The same goes for alcohol. You need to take it easy at happy hour and with a nightcap you have before you go to bed. Alcohol causes a different bodily reaction to caffeine. It can speed up the time it takes you to fall asleep, but it’s also likely to make your sleep more restless and shallow. As a result, teeth grinding will only get worse. According to a study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association. ‘’drinking alcohol can make you almost twice as likely to grind your teeth’’
Number two, reduce stress levels in your life. Stress is a common cause of Bruxism. It makes you nervous during the day and restless at night. You should first analyze the source of stress in your life. Is it from your family or friends? Are you stressed because of school or work? Did something stressful happen to you recently that cause sleepless nights and anxiety? Your next step is to come up with an effective plan for getting rid of those stress factors. We’re all fond of different stress relieving activities. But here are the three solutions we highly recommend that will definitely make a change. Counseling, exercising and meditating. You can also fix your schedule and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
Number three stop chewing things that are not food. This is a habit many of us had during childhood. Yet some adults still do it in their grown up lives. While chewing on a pencil or a pen in this sexy way we see in the movies is generally appealing, it will cause you a lot of health problems in real life. Chewing any non-food item brings more bacteria into your mouth and messes with your normal mouth activity. This habit is directly linked to grinding your teeth and uncontrollable chewing is a result of stress. If you can’t stop chewing different things when not eating, try tricking your brain by making a change. Swamp writing utensils for chewing, gum mints or a small healthy snack. Pick pens that aren’t easy to chew like metal pans or go to extreme by coating it with nail polish which tastes disgusting.
Number four include calcium and magnesium in your diet. So we’ve covered swapping pens and pencil for gum, but grinding your teeth can also mean that you lack certain supplements. Visit your doctor to run some tests and see if that’s the case. Don’t self prescribe vitamins or supplements. If your calcium and magnesium levels are too low. Start taking supplements. These elements are important for muscle function and nervous system health. If you suffer from Shin cramps during the night, these supplements will help. In addition to calcium and magnesium, you should off for a healthy and balanced diet. Fast foods, sodas and lots of sweets cause tooth decay. Raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries are all good for you and your team. You can also add cheese, yogurt, whole grains and sweet potatoes to your diet for healthier and stronger teeth and gobs.
Number five, pay attention to clinching. So here’s a tip. Pay attention to how your jaw and teeth behave during the day. Sooner rather than later, you’ll notice that they’re living a life of their own. This is known as Awake Bruxism. Unconscious clenching often happens when you’re thinking too hard or are very deeply involved in inactivity. According to a study from the Department of Neurology at the Medical University of Innsbruck, jaw clenching is also a response to stress and anxiety. You may not notice it, but your jaw is tense and your teeth are gridded at moments like these. Relax your jaw, put your teeth in a rest position with a tiny space between them and move the lower jaw from left to right to work it out.
Number six relax properly before bed. If nighttime Bruxism is your thing, then your first task is to unwind before going to sleep. The calmer and more relaxed you are, the better the chance that you’ll sleep soundly without grinding your teeth. Just like with distressing, different things work for different people. Try drinking soothing herbal tea before bed like camomile. You can also try massaging your neck, shoulders and face. That will help your mind and body relax for sure. This also means that you must put your smartphones away at bedtime. It can also help to adjust your bedroom conditions by switching off the lights before going to sleep.
Number 7 get a mouth guard. It’s like a bodyguard for your mouth. Now if you’re feeling like you’re not coping too well with your teeth grinding, go and see a specialist. If you visit a dentist on a regular basis, they’ll notice changes in your teeth and can suggest which measures you should take. Most likely, a dentist will recommend getting a mouth guard to wear at night to prevent your teeth from grinding and causing further damage. There are two options, buy a readymade guard at a pharmacy or get a custom made guard. Of course, the second variant is much better because everyone has a different jaw structure and mouth shape. A custom made silicone mouth guard will fit you perfectly and make sleeping with it a bit easier. However, it might be hard to get accustomed to it at first. Its price is much higher, but it will serve you for about one to one and a half years.
Unlike your hair, your teeth won’t grow back if anything happens to them that’s why you should take oral care seriously from the start. So are you a teeth grinder? How do you cope? Share in the comments how you realized you had the problem and how you’re dealing with it.