Teeth Grinding - Castletree.ca - Life is a Choice, Choose Well.

Lowest commission
Go to content

Main menu

Teeth Grinding

Tips > Health Tips


You had a stressful day and you unleased your tension by grinding your teeth at night -- maybe grinding so forcefully that you woke up the household. And perhaps you paid the price the next day with a headache.  For head and facial pain caused by teeth grinding (also called bruxism), you can get temporary relief from over-the-counter relievers like aspirin or acetaminophen.  But that doesn't get to the root of the problem.  For that you'll want to consult with your dentist.  In the meantime, here are some ways to minimize the daily (or nightly) grind.

Enjoy Your Retiring

  • Avoid stressful thoughts, activities, and movies in the hours before bedtime.  You probably don't realize it , but just before bed is the worst time to pay the bills, watch Die Hard reruns, or talk about your in-laws.  Get to your finances , violent movies, and sensitive subjects early in the evening.  If you are bothered by worries, jot down things that you need to address the next day. Then take a long, warm bath before you go to bed.

  • While you're in bed -- or even when you're lying in bed, cover your jaw with washcloth that's been soaked in hor water.  The extra warmth will relax your jaw muscles.

  • Practice progressive muscle relaxation before you go to sleep, so tension doesn't lead you to grind at night.  When you're lying in bed, tense, then relax the muscles in your feet.  Repeat with your calf muscles, then thigh muscles, and so on, progressively tensing and relaxing each set of muscles all the way up your body.  By the time you tense and relax your neck and jaw muscles, you should feel as limp as a rag doll.

  • Avoid eating within an hour of bedtime.  Digesting food while you sleep makes you more likely to grind your teeth.

Be Guarded

A protective mouth guard made for boxers and defensive linebackers will work for teeth grinders too.  Many types of protective mouth guards are available at sporting goods stores.  Follow directions on how to mold it to your bite, then wear it to bed at night.  The rubbery material will absorb pressure and save your teeth from damage.  (if you find that the mouth guard keeps falling out, or you wear it right through, talk to your dentist about a customized mouth guard).

Give Your Jaw a Break
During the day, make a conscious point of keeping your jaw relaxed and your teeth apart.  As a reminder to yourself, rest your tougue between your top and lower teeth -- so if you start to bite down, you'll chomp on some nerve endings.  Doctors have observed that people who can break the daytime teeth-grinding habit are less likely to do it unconsciously at night.

Avoid excessively hard or chey foods -- not only gum and hard candy, but also seak or dried foods that require a lot of jaw action. And if you're in the habit of chewing on the end of your pencil, try to stop.  When you work your jaws during the day, the pattern is likely to continue in your sleep.

Watch What You Imbibe

  • Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum -- or, better yet, stop drinking altogether.  This is especially important in the evening.  Though sleep experts aren't sure why, people who drink heavily at night are more likely to grind their teeth when they sleep.

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks.  Since caffeine is a stimulant, if you drink coffee, black tea, or caffeinated soft drinks, you're far nore likely to grind your teeth.

Get Mineral Power

Take powdered magnesium and calcium -- in a two-to-one ratio everyday.  These minerals help your jaw muscles relax, particularly at night.  Dosages range from 600 milligrams of calcium along with 300 milligrams of magnesium daily.  Start at the lower dose, and if you don't ret relief after a couple of weeks, increase the dosages.  Calcium/magnesium tablets are also available, but they don't dissolve as readily.  When you use the powdered form, dissolve the mineral supplements in an acidic liquid like orange or grapefruit juice.

Did you know?
When you grind you may be putting as much as 1,200 pounds of pressure on the crowns and roots.  That recurring pressure is what can break or loosen your teeth.

From: 1,801 Home Remedies - Reader's Digest

Back to content | Back to main menu