Grinding your teeth at night (bruxism) can be very harmful to your teeth, gums, and TMJ. You know it is in your best interests to give up the habit. But the problem is that you’re not exactly conscious when it happens! How can you stop grinding your teeth in your sleep? Consider these four suggestions that Back Bay Dental professionals recommend.
Stress is known to be a common trigger for jaw tension. This tension can cause you to involuntarily grind your teeth at night. Practice relaxation techniques before you sleep. Apply a warm washcloth to your cheek muscles and TMJ before you sleep to help the muscles relax.
Woman using a Sleep Apnea Mask
- Ask your doctor about sleep disorders
Some sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can cause your jaw to tighten and clench. Talk with your doctor about the signs of a sleep disorder and see if alleviating that problem eases your bruxism habit.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol right before bedtime
Stimulants like caffeine and alcohol can increase your stress levels and keep your body far more tense and active than it should be when you’re sleeping. Opt for herbal teas before bedtime to communicate to your jaw that it is time to quiet down!
- Cut back on grinding and clenching habits during the day
Perhaps you have a habit of nibbling pens, fingernails, or your cheeks during the day. A constant gum-chewing habit will also give your jaw muscles quite the workout. All this activity could be priming your jaw for clenching and grinding while you sleep. Make a conscientious effort to stop the chewing habit while awake, and this can help relieve the problem during your sleep.
If you feel your teeth grinding habit is getting out of control, schedule an appointment with Back Bay Dental to get preventive care that can help you save your smile.