Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth when you’re awake (awake bruxism) or clench or grind them during your sleep (sleep bruxism). When you brux (grind your teeth) during your sleep you’re more prone to have sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea.
If you have mild bruxism you may not need treatment. However, if left untreated it can cause:
- Jaw problems
- Headaches and ear aches
- Damaged teeth
- Painful or sore teeth
It can be caused by:
- Anxiety, anger or frustration
- Sleep disorders
- Abnormal bite
- Missing or misaligned teeth
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Huntington’s Disease
There is hope for you if you are suffering from Bruxism. There are natural remedies and lifestyle changes you can make to help lessen the effects of Bruxism.
A warm compress applied to your jaw will relax your smooth muscles and help prevent or lessen your teeth grinding.
You can heat a wet cloth or towel in a microwave for about one minute (or until warm). Wrap the towel around a water bottle or heated gel pack. Apply to your cheek for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
Warm milk is often a chosen drink to reach for if you’re struggling to relax and sleep. It has tryptophan in it, which is an amino acid that relaxes your nerves. Try adding turmeric to your warm milk to help with inflammation and reduction of pain. Here’s a great way to prepare your evening drink:
Heat one cup of milk in a saucepan. Stir in 1 teaspoon of honey and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla. Whisk in 1 teaspoon of turmeric and stir for 2 to 3 minutes until the flavors marry. Pour the mixture through a strainer into your mug, and enjoy!
Massaging the area around your jaw, including your neck and shoulder will help reduce tension you are holding in your masticatory muscles.
To massage your jaw, locate a notch in your cheekbone about one inch in front of your ear. It is on the underside of your cheekbone. Press firmly inward and upward with your thumb into the notch. You can choose to apply constant pressure or small, kneading circles. For further pressure you can apply your knuckle for extra pressure.
Just like vinegar seems to be the answer to most household needs, so lavender seems to be the answer to physical and emotional needs. Lavender oil can calm your nerves and induce better sleep. There are two ways you can use lavender oil to help alleviate your bruxism.
- Aromatherapy- try diffusing lavender oil into your bedroom while you sleep. You can also apply a few drops directly to your pillow.
- Topical- using a couple drops of lavender essential oil, massage your jaw right before bed.
Limit Alcohol, Tobacco, Drug Abuse and Caffeine
Your lifestyle choices can be contributing to your bruxism. Studies show that each of these can be a contributing factor to bruxism. The American Dental Association discovered a positive association between sleep bruxism and each of these personal lifestyle choices.
That’s right! Yoga can help reduce your symptoms of bruxism. This makes sense due to the fact that yoga helps reduce stress and stress can cause bruxism. Yoga focuses on relaxation, meditation and stretching. All of these will help gradually aid the effects of bruxism in your life.
One simple yoga pose you can try is the “eyes around the clock pose.” When stress is relieved in your eyes, it can lessen the stress you may be experiencing in the rest of your face (including your jaw). Close and relax your eyes. Slowly rotate your eyes clockwise 20 times and then rotate your eyes counter clockwise for twenty times.
At Les Belles NYC, we encourage our patients to explore natural solutions for their dental issues such as bruxism. In addition to these natural and lifestyle choices that will help your bruxism, we also offer therapy and protective mouth guards. Call our office to see how we can help.