While teeth grinding or bruxism can take place during the day it mostly occurs at night as an action of the subconscious mind. It can be very disruptive not only to your sleep but for sleeping partners as well. Luckily there are night-time teeth grinding remedies which are pretty effective at helping to break this destructive habit. Bruxism tends to be related to stress and may require more than one therapy to break the habit. The therapies for dealing with teeth grinding have one thing in common, in that they interrupt this habit.
Using bite guards
The most commonly used method to interrupt night-time teeth grinding is the use of a dental mouth guard or bite guard. This fits over the teeth and can be used on the upper or lower jaw. They are very effective at protecting the teeth but can take some getting used to, and a lot of people find they have excess saliva upon first wearing one, which can make it hard to get sleep.
However it’s worth persevering with as they really don’t take long to get accustomed to, and may only be needed for a short while until the cause of the bruxism is resolved through other therapies. Although teeth guards protect the teeth they don’t really solve the problem of bruxism, and some experts believe they should not be worn for the long-term as they can reposition the jaw muscles so that wearers can develop an open bite.
Another remedy for night-time teeth grinding is the NTI-tss (tension suppression system). This is a very simple device made by your dentist that fits over the front teeth. It prevents the teeth from touching and decreases muscle tension by triggering nerve reflex that enables the muscles to relax.
Alternative remedies for night-time teeth grinding
More natural night-time bruxism remedies include meditation and relaxation exercises, or even listening to relaxing music as you fall asleep. It’s well worth checking your sleeping environment and making sure that you can breathe easily while asleep. A good quality mattress and pillow could make all the difference, and sleeping on your back makes teeth grinding more difficult, especially if your head is tilted slightly backwards as this makes it much less likely that your jaw can clench tightly.
Improving your diet
Avoiding caffeine, sugar and alcohol for a few hours before bedtime may also help improve the quality of sleep, and drinking a relaxing herbal tea such as chamomile or green tea can be beneficial. Sometimes bruxism is due to a magnesium deficiency which can either be corrected through supplements or by choosing magnesium rich foods such as nuts, green vegetables and whole grains.
Natural biofeedback is where the bruxist is woken up by their sleeping partner every time they grind their teeth. The idea is that they get up, straighten the bedclothes and maybe visit the bathroom. This is because bruxism could be due to having a full bladder or an uncomfortable bed, and while it can be very disruptive to sleep in the short-term it does break the cycle of bruxism and could eventually lead to a better quality of sleep.