Tooth grinding is a condition medically referred to as bruxism and is characterized by grinding the teeth during the night or clenching the jaw during the day. It is not uncommon for some people who have developed this habit to be completely unaware of what they are actually doing. Bruxism may affect the visual appeal and the ability to eat since the teeth may be more sensitive to extremely cold or hot beverages and foods. Tooth grinding may cause further complications such as, facial pain, headaches and jaw pain.
The most important thing a person can do to stop bruxism is to handle the stress in his or her life. People who suffer from a lot of stress are actually more prone to bruxism. Stress can be channeled using numerous techniques. One should also try sleeping on the back because bruxism occur more in people who have a habit of sleeping on their stomachs or on their sides.
Bruxism during the night is more common in children than adults. Bruxism can be harmful to the primary teeth and it can also lead to damaged permanent teeth if not treated on time. Bedtime for children should be relaxed and enjoyable so parents should do their best to make it so for their kids. Kids should also have much space and time to play during the day, and as they grow older they should indulge in organized sports and similar activities. A parent should always understand the child’s troubles and provide her or him with the much needed support.
Severe cases of bruxism must be treated with special dental appliances. A contoured pillow can also be of much help for those who have a habit of sleeping in the fetal position. The pillow is efficient in reducing the strain that can be present in the jaw and the neck. Another good idea is to eat carrots, raw apples or any type of crunchy food just before bedtime because it is very beneficial in tiring out the jaw muscles.
Nightcaps should be avoided because alcohol actually contributes to increased occurrence of bruxism during the night. Regular workouts can also be of great help since they are efficient in releasing stress.
Tooth grinding during the night can be reduced by using prescribed acrylic mouth guards. Custom fitted sports mouth guards can also be used for the same purposes. One should also have a proper jaw posture in order to reduce tooth grinding. Wet heat can also be applied to the sides of the face because it is efficient in relaxing the muscles.