Teeth grinding, or what doctors call bruxism, is the clenching of teeth not associated with chewing and can develop in both children and adults. It is a combination of forceful, outward thrusting movements by the lateral jaw that cause the teeth to rub or grind together. When left untreated, this condition can cause significant damage, including tooth fractures, tooth loosening, tooth loss, and even damage to the jaw bone or hearing loss. Reducing stress, practicing jaw relaxing exercises, correcting an abnormal bite, and wearing a mouth guard at night are a few good ways to stop teeth grinding.
Reduce Stress. More than half of all cases of teeth grinding are caused by stress. Some people will grind their teeth during sleep as a result of stress. Pinpointing the areas in your life that cause stress and eliminating them should also help you stop grinding your teeth. Counseling sessions, group therapy, and exercise are good ways to begin reducing stress in your life.
Jaw Relaxing Practices. Relaxing your jaws before bed is another proven way to stop from grinding your teeth, particularly during sleep. Before you go to sleep, take a washcloth and moisten it with warm water. Place the washcloth on your cheeks just in front of your ear lobes. This will help to relax the muscles in your cheeks to reduce the occurrence of teeth grinding during your sleeping hours.
Correcting an Abnormal Bite. In some situations, the reason why a person is grinding their teeth has to do with the way his teeth are aligned. A person with an abnormal bite may unintentionally grind his teeth together while they sleep. This condition can be corrected by a dentist or dental specialist after a consultation has been conducted.
Wearing a Mouth Guard. Your dentist may recommended that you wear a mouth guard at night to stop teeth grinding. He will then fit you for a mouth guard that will fit seamlessly and comfortably inside your mouth. By creating a protective layer between your teeth, you will be able to reduce the effects of teeth grinding.