Jaw clenching or teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a very common problem many people suffer from. Nearly 1 in 3 people suffer from this issue and about 10 percent of the people who grind their teeth do it very severely. This is a serious problem as teeth grinding erodes the teeth and reduces them to nothing more than small nubs. This condition affects people of all ages and causes jaw disorders and headaches apart from tooth damage. Though people tend to grind their teeth any time during the day, they mostly do it at night when they are asleep. And, most people are not aware of it unless their dentist, their sleeping partner lets them know of this issue, or if serious dental complications occur. Since the condition may take a very long time to diagnose, by the time they go in for treatment, the damage is already done.
There are 2 types of bruxism – awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. Awake bruxism usually occurs due to stress and anxiety, or it may simply be a habit. Sleep bruxism is a little more complicated. It is a sleep-related movement disorder which is similar to periodic limb movement and restless legs syndrome. People with sleep bruxism may also suffer from snoring and sleep apnea. Sleep bruxism is quite common in adults, but if you notice it in teens and young children, it should be taken very seriously. Asthma, anxiety disorders, and upper airway infections are generally linked with teeth grinding. So if your child has asthma, it is advisable to go for regular dental checkups to identify bruxism before too much damage occurs. Though working with a dentist and a physician can help you craft a care plan that will reduce tooth damage, you can also craft an individualized plan by including a few of these natural methods.
If teeth grinding is a habit you have formed, biofeedback can help you overcome it. This technique uses equipment to teach you how to control the activity of your jaw muscles. It is effective in treating awake bruxism as well as sleep bruxism.
2. Stress Management
In many cases, you may end up grinding your teeth as a result of stress or anxiety. You can manage your stress by using popular techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and exercise. You can also use essential oil to calm you down and to relax you. You should make it a point to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to sleep 7 to 8 hours each night to reduce your stress levels.
3. Vitamin C
Consuming an adequate amount of vitamin C is necessary to reduce your stress levels. It is essential for producing dopamine, which helps regulate mood. You should include plenty of foods like oranges, lemon, guava, black currants, red peppers, kiwi, green peppers, strawberries, papaya, broccoli, and kale in your diet if you grind your teeth due to stress or anxiety.
If you have a magnesium deficiency, you may suffer from irritability, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and hyperactivity, which can result in teeth grinding. You can talk to your nutritionist and take magnesium supplements or include foods such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans, avocado, dark chocolate, bananas, spinach, yogurt, and figs in your diet.
5. Valerian Root
Valerian root is a natural sedative and has anti-anxiety properties. It helps improve the quality of your sleep. Since sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder, you should try Valerian root for a good night’s sleep.
If your condition is too severe, you should not hesitate to visit a dentist. In some cases, teeth grinding may be caused by the improper alignment of your teeth. Getting to the root cause of your issue will help treat your condition effectively.