Bruxism, or teeth grinding is a condition which can cause a lot of damage to the teeth and temporomandibular joint, as well as creating other additional symptoms such as pain in the head and neck region. It cannot be cured, but it is possible to successfully manage this condition through one or more treatments. The best and most immediate treatment for bruxism is to purchase a mouth guard, which may also be called a mouth splint or night guard. However this might not be enough for some people to break the habit, and it could be necessary to use other techniques in conjunction with a mouth guard. Additional treatments include changing diet, taking more exercise, using relaxation techniques or trying hypnosis or biofeedback.
Wearing a mouth guard
Although bruxism is a sub conscious habit, a lot of people find that wearing a mouth guard is enough to alter this behavior by interrupting the sensation created by teeth grinding. Mouth guards can be purchased for less than twenty dollars, or they can cost hundreds of dollars. It all depends on whether you choose to get a custom made mouth guard at your dental office, or if you buy a ready-made mouth guard from your local drug store or over the internet.
A custom made mouth guard may be best for fit, protection and comfort, but unless you are covered by insurance it is a lot of money to spend. Ready-made mouth guards may not offer the same level of protection and might not last so long, but it could be worthwhile experimenting with a couple of different brands to see if they can help you. If you choose to buy ready-made then spend a bit of time looking around for the best quality you can find. It should be made of a durable but flexible material that doesn’t easily tear. Look for one that can be adapted and altered to fit your mouth by soaking it in hot water to soften it up.
Start a new exercise regime
Exercise is good for all sorts of reasons, as not only will it make you fitter, but it increases serotonin levels giving a sense of well-being. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that elevates mood which may help, as bruxism has been linked not just to high stress levels but also to feelings of anger and depression. People who exercise regularly often enjoy a better quality of sleep and this could be enough to break the pattern of teeth grinding. Choosing to do yoga is especially good, as not only is it great exercise but it also is excellent for relaxation.
Cut down on caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol are well known to interrupt sleep, so cutting out, or at least refraining from alcohol and caffeine consumption, and smoking before bed can help to give a better nights rest. Although studies have yet to show conclusive links between bruxism and these substances, some bruxers have found it helps to at least reduce consumption.