If you find yourself waking up with a headache or feeling like you need to pop your jaw, you may be experiencing bruxism. This is also called teeth grinding or clenching. It’s a common issue where 5% of the total population has awake bruxism and up to 16.5% have sleeping bruxism.
Different factors can contribute to bruxism, including stress, misaligned or missing teeth, sleep apnea, caffeine, smoking, and drinking alcohol. If you think any of these might be contributing to your bruxism, it’s essential to talk to your dentist or doctor so they can help you come up with a plan to address the underlying issue.
There are a few simple things you can do at home to help prevent bruxism and protect your teeth. These include the following tips.
You may be wondering how staying active can help prevent teeth grinding. It turns out that exercising can help reduce stress and tension, both of which can be triggers for bruxism.
Sometimes, teeth grinding can be a symptom of stress. When your stress levels are high, your body is in a fight-or-flight mode. This can lead to clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth. Exercise can help reduce stress by releasing endorphins, known as happy hormones.
Sleep disorders like insomnia can also lead to bruxism. When you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, you may find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth out of frustration. With regular exercise, you cam improve your sleep quality and reduce or prevent bruxism.
Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. If you’re new to exercising, start with 10 minutes and gradually work your way up.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Most people drink their favorite caffeine fixes first thing in the morning. Some find it easier to fall asleep after having an alcoholic drink or two before bedtime. But if you’re struggling with bruxism, you may want to reconsider your morning cup of coffee and alcohol.
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can make you feel more awake and alert. This can also lead to clenching your teeth and grinding them together.
Alcohol can make you feel tired and relaxed, but it can also lead to teeth grinding. This is because alcohol dehydrates your mouth, which can then cause your teeth to rub together more forcefully. If you can’t give up caffeine and alcohol entirely, try to at least limit your intake.
Wear a Mouth Guard
Some people have extreme cases of bruxism that can cause damage to their teeth. If you find that your bruxism is severe, your dentist may recommend that you wear a mouth guard at night.
Mouth guards can protect your teeth from the damage of grinding and clenching. They also help keep your jaw aligned so that you’re not putting unnecessary stress on your teeth. Your dentist can fit you for a custom mouth guard that will be comfortable to wear and effective in preventing bruxism while you sleep.
Say Goodbye To Smoking
Smoking is a known trigger for teeth grinding. Smoking can lead to dry mouth, which causes your teeth to rub together more forcefully. Smoking can also contribute to stress, which, as mentioned before, can trigger teeth grinding.
Cigarettes have nicotine, which is a stimulant like caffeine. This can lead you to clench your teeth and grind them together. If you’re a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for oral health. Not only will it help reduce your risk of bruxism, but it will also lower your risk of developing gum disease and mouth cancer.
Replace Your Missing Teeth
Not many people know that missing teeth can also be a risk factor for bruxism. Remember that your teeth work together in harmony. When you have missing teeth, it can throw off your bite and cause your teeth to rub together more forcefully. Talk to your dentist about tooth replacement options if you’re missing teeth.
The earlier you get your teeth fixed, the better. Know that you can now get same-day dental implants, which means you can enjoy a brand-new smile in just one day. You just have to ensure you work with certified dental care professionals with years of experience placing implants. The right one will be able to provide personalized consultation and a streamlined dental implant process to help make your experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Bruxism can be a frustrating condition to deal with. Know that you are not alone in this and that there are things you can do to stop bruxism from ruining your sleep, your smile, and your health. By making lifestyle changes and working with your dentist, you can help reduce your risk of bruxism and protect your teeth from damaging effects.