Anyone who has read any information at all on teeth grinding or bruxism will be aware of the damage it can cause to teeth and gums. The associated problems include pain in the temporomandibular joint which is the joint that hinges the jaw, and also headaches, neck aches and facial pain. This makes it imperative to find a solution to teeth grinding, but it’s likely that the best teeth grinding solutions will involve more than one method or therapy as there is a known correlation to stress with this condition.
Your first plan of action will probably involve buying a teeth guard to protect your teeth from further damage until the bruxism is resolved. As bruxism is a behavior, wearing a teeth guard may prove enough to break the cycle, especially as certain types are designed to place the jaw in a specific position, forcing the muscles of the jaw to relax.
These can be custom-made at your dental office, bought online or purchased in the drugstore. While the custom-made option may offer the best fit and protection for the teeth, and may even be covered through dental insurance, the ready-made teeth guards offer a viable solution to anyone looking for a low cost option.
Stress busting ideas
A lot of people suffer from bruxism as a reaction to stress, and learning to manage this stress effectively, or even better removing it, can help alleviate bruxism. There are lots of simple ways to try and deal with stress, and one of the most common is to simply take more exercise. Exercise is well known to help with stress as it produces neurotransmitters called endorphins which literally make you feel better and more relaxed. Taking exercise can also lead to a better quality of sleep which is important as sleep disorders are also associated with bruxism and yoga is especially good for this.
Changing diet can help too, especially if yours is high in fast foods and stimulants such as caffeine and sugar. A well-nourished body is better equipped to cope with stress. Nicotine is also a stimulant, and the argument for quitting is well documented already.
Another useful therapy to try includes biofeedback. Biofeedback can be used when a person is awake or asleep, and trains them to be aware of and how to relax their muscles. It teaches them to have more control over what are normally involuntary muscle reactions, and by getting to the heart of the problem helps people gain a measure of control over the way they deal with stress.
Biofeedback involves having electrodes attached to the muscles around the jaw which are connected to a machine that is able to detect muscle tension. A stimulus is then used to wake or alert the bruxist which is either an alarm or mild electric shock. Another method that is more natural involves having another person wake up the bruxist as it is the discomfort of being awoken that helps to break the habit. This method can be even more effective when combined with relaxation training.
Finding the best teeth grinding solutions can be a matter of personal choice and experimentation to find the best method for you.