How to stop teeth grinding at night?
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common condition that involves clenching or grinding your teeth unintentionally during sleep. It can lead to symptoms like jaw pain, headaches, and damaged teeth. Fortunately, there are some simple self-care steps you can take to reduce or prevent teeth grinding at night:
Use a night guard
Wearing a custom-fitted night guard or mouth guard from your dentist provides a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth, absorbing some of the force from clenching and grinding. This can help prevent tooth damage as well as alleviate pain and sensitivity.
Stress and anxiety are common triggers for bruxism. Try to:
- Practice relaxation techniques before bed like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation
- Get regular exercise to reduce overall stress levels
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco close to bedtime
Adjust your sleep habits
Lack of sleep and sleep disruptions can contribute to teeth grinding at night. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Establish a regular sleep schedule and wind down with calming activities before bed.
Making some simple lifestyle changes can go a long way towards reducing teeth grinding during sleep. But if symptoms persist, consult your dentist - they may recommend additional treatments like physical therapy, medication, or botox injections for severe bruxism.
How to relieve jaw pain from bruxism?
If you experience jaw pain due to teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism), there are some self-care remedies you can try to find relief:
Use a hot or cold compress
Applying temperature therapy can help reduce muscle soreness and joint pain:
- Use a heated pad or warm washcloth on the jaw for 10-15 minutes to relax the muscles
- Wrap some ice cubes in a towel and apply to the jaw for 10-15 minutes to numb pain
Try facial massage
Gently massaging the jaw, cheek, and temple areas can increase blood flow and reduce tension in the muscles. Use small circular motions with your fingers.
Take over-the-counter pain medication
Pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen can temporarily alleviate jaw pain and inflammation caused by bruxism. Follow dosage instructions carefully.
See your dentist
Your dentist may recommend:
- A custom night guard to protect your teeth during sleep
- Physical therapy to strengthen jaw muscles
- Botox injections to relax the muscles
Getting to the root cause of your bruxism through stress management, sleep hygiene, and other lifestyle changes is key. But in the meantime, try these tips to ease jaw discomfort and limit further damage to the jaw joint.
How to Fit a Mouth Guard Properly?
Wearing a mouth guard correctly is important to get the full protective and therapeutic benefits for teeth grinding, sports injuries, and more. Here are some tips on ensuring a proper mouth guard fit:
Clean your teeth
Always fit the mouth guard over clean teeth so it molds accurately to your bite. Food debris or plaque on your teeth can affect the fit.
Follow molding directions
For custom-fitted boil-and-bite mouth guards:
- Boil water and immerse the mouth guard for 60 seconds
- Remove with tongs and shake off excess water
- Make sure it's not too hot before inserting it in your mouth
- Bite down firmly, sucking out air and water
- Press your tongue against it to mold the material to your teeth
Check for gaps
After molding, remove the mouth guard and check for gaps between your teeth and the material. If there are gaps, re-boil and repeat the fit process.
Wear the new mouth guard for a few nights to test the fit. If you experience discomfort or it feels loose, you may need to refit it.
With a well-fitted mouth guard worn nightly, you'll reduce your risk of tooth damage, jaw pain, and injury. See your dentist if you have any issues getting a proper fit.
How to Clean Mouth Guards Effectively?
Proper cleaning is essential for keeping your mouth guard fresh and preventing bacterial growth. Here are some effective methods:
Rinse after each use
When you remove your mouth guard, give it a thorough rinse under cold running water before storage. This washes away saliva and debris.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste to gently brush the surfaces of your mouth guard once or twice a week. Avoid hard scrubbing.
Soak in denture cleaner
Soak your mouth guard in a denture cleaning solution like Efferdent or Polident for 15-30 minutes to sanitize and remove stains. Rinse afterward.
Clean with white vinegar
Soak the mouth guard in a mixture of 2 parts warm water and 1 part white vinegar for 30 minutes, then rinse. The vinegar disinfects and deodorizes.
While bleach can sanitize, it can also damage and degrade the plastic material over time. Avoid soaking your mouth guard in bleach.
Store it properly
Keep your mouth guard in its case when not in use, and don't share storage cases with others. Replace cases frequently.
With proper daily cleaning and storage, your custom or store-bought mouth guard will stay fresh and provide the protection you need.
How to Know if You Grind Your Teeth?
Teeth grinding (bruxism) often happens unconsciously during sleep, so you may not realize you're doing it. Here are some signs to look for:
Worn tooth enamel
Excessive grinding can wear down and damage your tooth enamel over time. Look for teeth that appear flattened, fractured, or chipped.
Increased tooth sensitivity
As enamel wears down, teeth can become more sensitive, especially to hot and cold foods or beverages.
Jaw, face, or neck pain
Strained jaw muscles and joint issues from forceful grinding can lead to:
- Pain or soreness in the jaw, cheeks, temple, or neck
- Clicking, popping, or locking sensations in the jaw
Headaches upon waking
Grinding your teeth at night can trigger morning headaches due to the strain on your jaw and head muscles.
Ask your dentist
Your dentist can spot physical signs of bruxism during dental exams. Be sure to mention any symptoms you’ve noticed. They may recommend a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
Catching bruxism early allows you to take steps to save your tooth enamel and prevent lasting dental damage and jaw pain.