Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a harmful condition that millions of people suffer from. Teeth grinding can put significant pressure on your teeth, leading to fractures, gum inflammation, and even loose teeth. Bruxism commonly happens during sleep, but people often experience daytime teeth grinding as well. Fortunately, there are a few practices you can do to help reduce your bruxism and protect your teeth from harm!
Identify Triggers and Reduce Stress
Stress can cause muscle tension and is one of the main causes of bruxism. However, bruxism can also result in teeth grinding, leading to an aching jaw or headaches. Reducing your stress may be a helpful practice in helping to control your bruxism, especially if you experience chronic stress . Part of stress reduction can include identifying your triggers, such as what makes you stressed or angry, in case you grind your teeth during the day without being aware of it. Pay attention to stress triggers throughout your day to see if you can identify any common ones!
Perform Daily Jaw Exercises
For some people, jaw exercises can help release tension in the jaw muscles and may help improve bruxism. Try stretching your jaw gently, opening and closing your mouth while keeping the tip of your tongue pressed to the roof of your mouth near your front teeth. Stretching these muscles daily, especially during times of tension, stress, or other triggers, can be a key component in managing your bruxism .
Other exercises you can try include:
- Gently stretching your jaw throughout the day, whether or not you pay attention to
your tongue position.
- Practice proper posture to prevent tension in your shoulders, neck, and jaw.
- Holding your thumb beneath your chin, putting some pressure on your chin as you open your jaw and hold for a few seconds.
These exercises can also be helpful in conjunction with other treatment for your bruxism!
Consider Physical Therapy or Massage
Physical therapy to help reduce tension in the jaw can help bruxism, especially if you and your dentist have identified stress as the primary cause of your teeth grinding. A physical therapist can also work with you on exercises that are specific to your jaw pain rather than general exercises. Massage therapy can also help when it comes to releasing tension, especially chronic tension in the jaw muscles. You can also try self-massage in the area near your jaw joints, gently massaging to identify tight or sore areas .
Follow Up With Your Dentist
There are many factors that can play into teeth grinding, and determining the cause behind your bruxism with the help of your oral healthcare professional is important to find an effective treatment. Follow up with your dentist about your teeth grinding habit to see if you could benefit from a custom mouthguard or other therapy to help protect your smile!