How To Treat Bruxism (a.k.a. Teeth Grinding and Clenching)

May 08, 2015

Do you grind and clench your teeth in your sleep? This condition (called bruxism) can happen with adults while they are sleeping. If it occurs occasionally, it should cause no problems. But chronic teeth grinding can fracture teeth or cause problems with the jaw. If you think you have bruxism, consult your dentist so they can find the best treatment for you.

Mouth Guard

This is the most common treatment if you grind and clench your teeth in your sleep. Wearing a mouth guard at night prevents grinding damage because your teeth will only have a smooth surface to slide across. It also stops clenching by cushioning the mouth.

Relaxation Exercises and Treatments

Stress and anxiety are the most common causes of bruxism. A dentist may recommend relaxation exercises or meditation before you go to bed. Also, having a consistent bedtime routine and a comfortable bedroom environment (dark, quiet, and containing no work related items) may help. In more extreme cases, counseling or taking muscle relaxants may be necessary.

Sleep Methods

Bruxism normally happens when you sleep, so it makes sense that how you sleep can affect it. Sleep deprivation, apnea, and even snoring or sleeping on your back have all been linked as a cause of teeth grinding. So treatments in this case would involve getting plenty of sleep or sleeping on your side or stomach. Consulting a sleep specialist may be recommended.

Training Your Mouth

Sometimes, nightly bruxism can be caused by daily bruxism. Be aware of teeth grinding and clenching in the daytime and stop it. The Cleveland Clinic recommends training your tongue to rest lightly on the back of your upper front teeth with your lips together and teeth apart. This can help stop teeth grinding at night.

Avoiding Harmful Substances

The consumption of alcohol, drugs, and even caffeine have also been linked with causing bruxism. Avoiding food or drink with these substances may help stop nightly teeth grinding and clenching.