Bruxism is the involuntary clenching and grinding of the teeth, which can cause tooth wear or sensitivity, problems in the jaw joint, headaches, ear pain, among others. This is a condition that is most often suffered at night, although it can also occur during the day. Although it has been pointed out that there are several factors that favor your condition, the most common is excessive stress or anxiety. It is very important to start the proper dental treatment to avoid complications and more serious dental problems. Likewise, there are a series of tips that can be carried out to prevent its appearance and to alleviate its symptoms. In this FastlyHealarticle, we reveal which are the bestTips to avoid night bruxism and relax your jaw.
Nocturnal bruxism: causes and symptoms
The nocturnal bruxism or habit of grinding and clenching teeth involuntarily at night can result from several factors, among which are the following:
- Excess stress, anxiety or tension: many people process emotional stress while they are sleeping and release it by clenching their teeth.
- Problems biting properly.
- Having misaligned teeth.
- Adopting bad posture when sleeping or having bad sleeping habits.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks.
The fact of exerting constant pressure on the structures around the jaw can cause severe problems in the temporomandibular joint. The main symptoms of nocturnal bruxism are listed below:
- Jaw pain or swelling.
- Worn, broken or cracked teeth.
- Premature dental pain.
- Dental sensitivity to cold, hot or sweet foods or drinks.
- Gum problems
- Facial pain
- Neck Pain.
- Stress and anxiety.
Bruxism: pharmacological and dental treatment
In the case of suspecting that you suffer from nocturnal bruxism, it is very important that you consult your dentist , since it is essential to initiate the appropriate treatment in each case to avoid the destruction of the dental structures and serious problems in the temporomandibular joint. In general, the treatment of nocturnal bruxism can include:
The so-called shock splint is the most common treatment to prevent night bruxism. It is a plastic mold in the shape of the denture that the patient must place at night in order to protect the teeth from wear and tear caused by bruxism and to achieve relaxation of the jaw muscles.
In those cases in which this habit is the consequence of a malocclusion or dental misalignment, the affected person may require orthodontic treatment to correct the bite and thus avoid bruxism.
In some cases, the specialist may recommend the consumption of some medications, such as pain relievers, tranquilizers and muscle relaxants , to reduce and alleviate some symptoms associated with bruxism, such as headaches or muscle pain.
In most cases, nocturnal bruxism is caused by an accumulation of stress and tension , so those people who suffer from it but cannot control their emotions on their own, should start psychological therapy. With it, the psycho-emotional causes that give rise to the problem are directly treated and the necessary techniques are provided to be able to control stress and / or anxiety.
A physiotherapy treatment can also give good results in patients with nocturnal bruxism, as it will help reduce the discomfort it causes, relax the muscles and prevent dental damage. This treatment is established based on what the causes of bruxism are in each case, but may include application of heat to the jaw region, massages to the face, neck and shoulders, stretching of the jaw muscles, ultrasound and acupuncture.
Tips to avoid night bruxism
In addition to medical treatment, there are a series of tips that you can carry out yourself at home and in your day to day to avoid night bruxism as much as possible. These are the following:
- Try to be aware of the exact moment when you clench your teeth and when you realize it, try to relax your jaw by placing the tip of your tongue on the upper palate touching your front teeth.
- Do physical exercise daily to release tension, but avoid physical activity after sunset.
- Learn to relax before sleeping. Disciplines such as yoga or Pilates are good options for learning meditation and relaxation techniques.
- Avoid thinking about daily worries before going to sleep, it is important that you try to relax your mind as much as you can.
- Avoid using electronic devices before sleeping or doing activities that activate your mind.
- Avoid consuming stimulating beverages and large, copious meals before bed.
- Taking a hot bath just before bed can also help you relax and help you sleep with less built-up tension. Likewise, infusions with calming properties are also excellent options. Discover them by consulting the following article: Relaxing teas to sleep well .
- Make sure that your place of rest at night has a calm, relaxed and pleasant atmosphere to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
- If you experience jaw pain from nighttime bruxism, you can apply a warm damp cloth to the jaw area.
- Avoid chewing gum frequently and chewing on objects other than food.
- Avoid eating foods that are too hard.
- Get your face, neck, and shoulder massages to reduce discomfort and relax your muscles.
Exercises to avoid bruxism
In addition to the above tips, there are a number of exercises and movements that can also help prevent bruxism and relax the jaw, thus reducing discomfort. Take note and do not hesitate to put them into practice:
- Open and close your mouth as much as you can 15 times in a row.
- Open your mouth and hold it like this for 5 seconds, then close it and rest for another 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
- Bring your jaw to the right side and then to the left side. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
- Bring your jaw to your chest, hold that position for 5 seconds, then raise it and rest for another 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
- Circle your jaw in both directions about 10 times for each direction.
- Pull your jaw forward and then back about 15 times.
- Place your fingertips on both sides of your jaw and begin making gentle, slow circular motions for 1 minute.
- Using your ring, middle and index fingers, press gently below the cheekbones in areas with the greatest tension or where you feel the most pain. Do it also for 1 minute.
- Perform the same massage above on the temples and just above the cheekbones for 1 minute.
- Open your mouth a little but keeping your jaw relaxed. Place your index fingers on your lower molars and press down as you try to close your mouth.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to How to avoid nocturnal bruxism , we recommend that you enter our Teeth and mouth category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.