Email to Your Friends

How To Stop Grinding Your Teeth In Your Sleep

How To Stop Grinding Teeth In Sleep

Nocturnal teeth grinding or sleep bruxism affects around 20% kids below 11 and 8% adults. Since stress causes most cases of teeth grinding, try yoga, therapy, and relaxation techniques for relief. Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine, all of which affect sleep quality, making bruxism likely. Use customized mouth guards to keep the jaw in place. Or try hypnotherapy.

Do you often get up from sleep with clenched teeth or aching jaws or even headache? If yes, you could be suffering from sleep bruxism or nocturnal tooth grinding. Bruxism is a disorder where you clench and release your jaws rhythmically and grind your teeth. People who do it while sleeping have sleep bruxism, and it can results in lack of sleep and severe tooth damage.1

Symptoms To Check If You Grind Your Teeth In Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, bruxism affects around 20% of children below 11 years of age and 13% of adults in the age group of 18 to 29. While most children outgrow this condition, 8% of adults suffer from bruxism throughout their lives.2 Are you among that 8%? Is your child among the 20%?

When you find yourself waking up with clenched jaws, or hear your bed partner complaining of grinding noise from you at night, you know you are suffering from bruxism. You know you have the problem when you often get clicking noise from your jaws, your lower jaw is swollen, or you wake up with regular headaches. Here are some other symptoms3:

  • Earache
  • Stiffness of facial joints
  • Pain around the jaw area and generalized facial pain
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth in severe cases
  • Disturbed sleep

Bruxism also leads to

  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity due to eroded enamel
  • Swollen gums
  • Chipped tooth fillings

About 70% Of Teeth-Grinding Cases Are Caused By Stress

Even though it is very common, experts are still trying to find out what causes nocturnal tooth grinding. According to National Health Services (NHS) UK, in 70% of the cases, nocturnal bruxism is caused due to stress, chiefly work-related, and anxiety.4 In children, too, stress is a major cause of teeth grinding, besides nasal obstructions and swollen tonsils. Other causes include certain types of medication and drugs, sleep apnea, and lifestyle habits like smoking and alcoholism.5.

How To Stop Grinding Your Teeth In Your Sleep

Research shows that bruxism can have a major impact on your life6 in terms of dental health, sleep quality, and overall quality of life.

1. Use Customized Mouth Guard

The most common method to deal with bruxism is wearing a customized mouth guard or occlusal splints made of silicon or plastic at night. This holds the jaw in its original position and prevents clenching and grinding while you sleep.7 The mouth guard prevents excessive muscle activity at night as you sleep.8

2. Reduce Stress

According to health experts, if your bruxism is related to stress, therapy and relaxation technique may help a great deal.9 You could also try these yoga asanas for stress relief. You can also try to reduce stress levels by changing your sleep pattern.

If your kids have bruxism caused by anxiety and stress, engage them in calming or stress-busting activities before bedtime.10

3. Cut Down On Stimulants

It is a good idea to cut down on stimulants such as tobacco and caffeine and relaxants like alcohol.11 Apparently having caffeine even 6 hours before sleeping can cut down your sleeping time by an hour.12 Smoking too increases the risk of sleep apnea.13

4. Try Hypnotherapy

Another effective way to treat nocturnal bruxism is through hypnotherapy. Studies have shown that individuals who tried assisted and self-hypnosis showed a positive result. They actually were able to get up in the morning with less pain and without the clenched jaw.14

Bruxism is more prevalent than you expect it to be. Curing it is not difficult. So start working on it right away.

References   [ + ]

1. Bader, Gaby, and Gilles Lavigne. “Sleep bruxism; an overview of an oromandibular sleep movement disorder: review article.” Sleep medicine reviews 4, no. 1 (2000): 27-43.
2. Prevalence of Sleep-related Bruxism. National Sleep Foundation.
3. Symptoms of Teeth Grinding. NHS.
4. Teeth Grinding. NHS.
5. Causes of Teeth Grinding. NHS.
6. Ohayon, Maurice M., Kasey K. Li, and Christian Guilleminault. “Risk factors for sleep bruxism in the general population.” Chest Journal 119, no. 1 (2001): 53-61.
7. Giannasi, Lilian Chrystiane, Israel Reis Santos, Thays Almeida Alfaya, Sandra Kalil Bussadori, and Luis Vicente Franco de Oliveira. “Effect of an occlusal splint on sleep bruxism in children in a pilot study with a short-term follow up.” Journal of bodywork and movement therapies 17, no. 4 (2013): 418-422.
8, 11. How Can I Stop Grinding My Teeth?. The Bruxism Association.
9. Thompson, B. A., B. W. Blount, and T. S. Krumholz. “Treatment approaches to bruxism.” American family physician 49, no. 7 (1994): 1617-1622.
10. Restrepo, C. C., E. Alvarez, C. Jaramillo, C. Velez, and I. Valencia. “Effects of psychological techniques on bruxism in children with primary teeth.”Journal of Oral rehabilitation 28, no. 4 (2001): 354-360.
12. Drake, Christopher, Timothy Roehrs, John Shambroom, and Thomas Roth. “Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed.” Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine 9, no. 11 (2013): 1195.
13. Krishnan, Vidya, Sherrie Dixon-Williams, and J. Daryl Thornton. “Where there is smoke… there is sleep apnea: Exploring the relationship between smoking and sleep apnea.” CHEST Journal 146, no. 6 (2014): 1673-1680.
14. Clarke, J. Henry, and P. J. Reynolds. “Suggestive hypnotherapy for nocturnal bruxism: a pilot study.” American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 33, no. 4 (1991): 248-253.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.