Have you ever wondered what the cause of bruxism or teeth grinding is?
Why is it important to pay attention to bruxism?
What can happen if you don’t take the appropriate steps to keep your teeth strong and healthy?
The following are some common reasons a person may be experiencing sleep bruxism and awake bruxism.
- Stress and anxiety
- Caffeine Intake
- Heavy Alcohol Consumption
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Depending on your daily habits, making lifestyle changes can not only improve your everyday life by reducing psychological stress, but can also improve your overall health and reduce bruxism.
At first glance, these changes may seem unrelated, but stress manifests in different ways. Consuming alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine can take a toll on our bodies in many ways. Sleep disorders, if left untreated, can cause many issues as well.
Oral Hygiene is Critical
Let’s explore what can happen if you ignore your oral health. There are several dental problems associated with bruxism that result in long-term damage:
- Painful teeth
- worn tooth enamel
- flattened biting surfaces
- damaged fillings and crowns
- Chipped or cracked teeth
Other possible side effects have to do with muscle tension. This would include facial pain, sore jaw muscles, ear pain, and neck pain.
Headaches and fatigue are also associated with bruxism.
Other Contributing Factors Leading to Bruxism
In addition to the lifestyle choices that can lead to bruxism, other factors can lead to teeth grinding.
As mentioned previously, a person’s stress level is a primary factor; how much stress you internalize within your given personality type can increase your risk.
If you have a competitive or hyperactive personality, this can increase your chances of bruxism during sleep as well as during the day.
It’s also important to consider how medications may affect you.
Though it may be an uncommon side effect, some psychiatric medications and certain antidepressants can cause bruxism.
Bruxism can also be a trait that is passed down through families.
Lastly, other medical conditions are associated with bruxism, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, sleep apnea, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Natural Remedies for Bruxism
There are severe cases requiring conventional treatments from a healthcare provider, but the good news is that several natural remedies can be effective in preventing further damage, assisting with stress management, and improving sleep quality.
One such treatment is to wear a night guard. Often you can wear the night guard on the lower teeth only. In addition, you can get custom-made mouthguards from your local dentist. This will prevent further damage to your teeth during the night.
Additional home remedies to add to your daily routine include placing a warm compress on your jaw, such as a heating pad or a hot towel, to help relax the muscles.
There are also relaxation techniques, such as opening your mouth as wide as you can and touching your tongue to your front teeth, which will help to relax your jaw.
Massage therapy is still another way to lessen sore muscles. When massaging facial muscles, it helps to use essential oils.
Meditating, yoga, and deep breathing are alternative therapies that also reduce stress.
Eat Healthy Whole Foods
Lastly, good nutrition is essential. Drinking herbal tea to help relax your mind and body will allow you to get better sleep.
Turmeric milk is always a good option. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the pain from your sore muscles.
Vitamin C benefits the adrenal glands. It can be found in many fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits, peppers, papaya, guava, strawberries, and many more.
You can also opt for supplements. Vitamin B-rich foods such as potatoes, vegetables in the cabbage family, fish, chicken, and seafood decrease psychological stress and help fight depression.
Magnesium-rich foods like boiled spinach, black-eyed peas, avocados, bananas, yogurt, fish, dark chocolate, and flaxseed aid in relaxation and help regulate mood.
Whatever remedy you choose, the first step is taking time for yourself and being mindful of how you are helping your body to be healthy and resilient.
Michael J. Brown, RPh, BCPS, BCPP
Mr. Brown is a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in pharmacotherapy and psychiatry.
Feel free to send Michael a message using this link.
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