Teeth grinding is such a common condition that almost one-third of the world population suffers from it. Everyone, regardless of age and gender, can grind his or her teeth once in life without even realizing. Many think that teeth grinding is just a normal habit and it is harmless, but this is a false thought. This condition, if prolonged, will lead to certain damage to oral health, such as tooth erosion, loss of teeth, deflected jaw structure, or jaw muscles tension. It may also cause earaches or headaches in case of not being detected and treated promptly. Especially for children, teeth grinding is a serious problem to be aware of. Today on Effective Remedies, you will acquire the best ways on how to stop teeth grinding in adults and children at night. Let’s get started!
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10 Worth-Trying Tips To Stop Teeth Grinding In Adults And Children At Night
I. About Teeth Grinding
1. What Causes Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding or jaw clenching, medically called bruxism, is an automatic tendency of gnashing or gritting the teeth together. It can occur while sleeping or during the awakening time, but usually, most people do not register that they have gone through it. Lots of reasons can contribute to a person grinding his teeth. Clearly identify the trigger will make the treatment easier and more convenient. Some reasons for teeth grinding at night are:
- Stress and anxiety:
Studies have shown direct links between stress and anxiety with teeth grinding in both adults and children. When people are under pressure or anxiety throughout the day, they tend to have difficulty falling asleep or are unable to sleep deeply at night, which makes them more prone to bruxism. Moreover, high levels of stress or anxiety can also cause you to clench your teeth instinctively during the day, and that action will repeat itself unconsciously when you sleep.
- Sleep disorders:
Obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder which interrupts breathing while you sleep, is one of the risk factors of sleep bruxism. Evidence of the relationship between these two phenomena has been found only recently. Scientists have asserted that sleep apnea patients gnash their teeth so that the brain knows they are still alive, which avoid the brain stopping during the internment of breathing.
Other sleep disorders like snoring, drowsiness, delirium, and sleep paralysis all have chances to develop teeth grinding at night.
- Medications’ side effect:
Occasionally, teeth grinding appears as a side effect of taking some types of drugs for mental illnesses such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and tranquilisers.
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Types of malocclusion are overbite, underbite, and crowding. When the upper and lower teeth are deflected and not aligned, they will have a propensity to rub against each other uncontrollably while sleeping, causing bruxism.
- Systemic diseases:
Sleep bruxism is also due to the functional disorder of the central nervous system in the body. For example, people with Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease will often be the victims of teeth grinding. Besides, it a consequence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
in adults, calcium deficiency and malnutrition in children.
- Respiratory problems:
The connection between respiratory problems and teeth grinding is more frequent in children than in adults. Recent research has collected, analyzed, and calculated that 62.5 percent of children with bruxism undergo respiratory diseases such as asthma and upper airway infections. Therefore, if your children show any symptoms of these diseases, take them to the dentist without delay to prevent further damages.
- Lifestyle factors:
No lack of everyday activities that give rise to teeth grinding at night. These activities include inordinate smoking, along with excessive drinking beverage containing alcohol like wine, whiskey, beer, or caffeine like coffee, tea, coke. Another factor that affects the grinding condition is medication use. Ecstasy, cocaine, MDMA are recreational drugs that exacerbate your central nervous system, causing adrenaline to produce unmanageable. Consequently, you are more prone to clench your teeth or bite your tongue since those drugs paralyze your nervous system and not allow you to feel the pain that you have caused yourself.
2. Symptoms Of Teeth Grinding
If you are careless, it is hard to know whether you ground your teeth while sleeping or not. But there are still some signs that you can rely on to judge your sleep state:
- A steady headache in the temporal regions and jaws torment after waking up are the most widely recognized side effects of teeth grinding.
- You may discover your bruxism from your partner or family members who sleep with you; as the loud sound of gnashing and clenching affects their sleep.
- You will notice damages in your tooth enamel, as a matter of fact, your teeth will be more sensitive to heat, cold, and sour.
- In severe, long-lasting cases, your teeth may be loose, abrasive, chipped or cracked.
II. How To Stop Teeth Grinding At Night In Adults
1. Relieve Stress
If your sleep bruxism has an association with stress or anxiety, it is important to try to repose and unwind your mind. Several things you can do in this situation, such as listening to music, reading books, having a warm bath, using essential oils, yoga, or whatever you enjoy. Drinking herbal tea is also a great way to calm. You should choose types of tea that have antifebrile properties, which help you reduce fatigue and give you more energy such as peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm or passion flower tea.
2. Avoid Consuming Stimulants
Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol are substances that either stimulate or depress your nervous system, making your mind difficult to relax . Hence you will have difficulty falling asleep, or you will sleep less restful, which results in teeth grinding development. Try to abandon smoking and drinking during the day, especially in the evening to improve your sleep standard and escape from bruxism.
3. Valerian Root
Valerian is an eternal flowering plant local to Europe and Asia. Valerian root has long been popular for its controlling mood, promoting relaxation, and improving sleep’s quality properties. The root extract nowadays is present in many pharmacies or grocery stores in diverse forms, such as capsules, powder, liquid tincture, essential oils, and tea. There are certain dosages for each cause of teeth grinding. Please note the following to use valerian root safely and effectively:
- For treating insomnia and other sleep disorders, you can either consume 300 to 600 milligrams of valerian root at least 30 minutes before going to bed or make a glass of tea by soaking 2 grams of the dry root in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes.
- For relieving anxiety, take 100 to 200 milligrams of valerian root 3 times daily with the last time right before sleeping.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using this method since there is no concrete evidence of whether or not valerian root is harmful to the fetus and baby.
- Children under 3 should not use valerian root as a way to stop teeth grinding because it has not been tested in children under three years of age.
- You will start to see changes after 2 weeks. But if you want to extend the course of treatment, you have to consult your doctor first.
- Also, ask your doctor when you need to take any other medicine while using valerian root to avoid contradictory interactions between their compositions.
III. How To Stop Teeth Grinding At Night In Adults And Children
1. Relax Before And During Bedtime
This is a key component of a nice sleep, thus reduces the possibility of getting bruxism. Below are some suggestions to help you fully relax before going to bed and have a good night:
- Massage your head, face, neck, and shoulders in slow circular motions, focus more on the forehead, temples, and jaws.
- Take a near-hot towel and place it on your face for your muscles to become less tense, avoiding gritting at night.
- Play light or non-verbal music about an hour before bedtime to keep your mood in balance, which helps you fall asleep easier.
- Stay away from any electronic device such as television, laptop, or cell phone at least an hour before sleeping because the electromagnetic waves of these devices have negative effects on the brain and nerves, decreasing the quality of your sleep.
- Do not leave the lights on while sleeping as it brings various disadvantages. Artificial light is a kind of pressure. If you and your children often sleep under a lamp or led light, the sleeping time will be shorter, leading to insufficient sleep. This even more dangerous for children since the light may cause emotional disturbances and psychological instability, which induce the risk of teeth grinding.
2. Use Mouth Guards
The most ordinary ways that you can think of or be assigned to stop teeth grinding at night is to use mouth guards. Mouth guards are dental supplies shaped like a trough and specially designed to fit the jaws of individuals. They work to prevent the upper and lower teeth from being directly exposed to each other, avoiding additional damages caused by grinding. However, this protection method may not be suitable for everybody, while many feel uncomfortable or even painful, covering their teeth with the guards. And also, in most cases, mouth guards are only ready to control the condition, not to completely cure it, so you should combine them with other methods to achieve the best performance.
3. Apply Teeth Braces
If you have sleep bruxism because of unaligned teeth, applying teeth braces is what dentists highly recommend. This can be a permanent option that helps you say goodbye to teeth grinding if you maintain long enough and remember to use mouth guards every day from 1 to 3 months to shape the jaws after removing the braces.
One thing to be careful, children can only apply teeth brace once they have had enough permanent teeth or are specially indicated by the dentist.
4. Stop Bad Mouth Habits
When being under pressure, lots of people have a habit of chewing something, pencils, pens, or chewing gum, for instance. Likewise, toddlers tend to bite anything they can because of curiosity. This habit will make jaw muscles more active and gradually get used to clenching, leading to the probability of grinding even during sleep. To stop it, for adults, consider placing the tip of your tongue between the two jaws to permit them to loosen; for toddlers, draw their attention to toys that they cannot put into mouth or outdoor activities, they will give up their biting habit after some time.
5. Supplement B-Complex Vitamins
Each type of vitamin B has its own health benefits, but the deficiency of any vitamin B is likely to cause mental and psychological problems, such as distress, depression, paranoia, dementia, etc. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and vitamin B12 (cobalamin) might be particularly valuable for conquering bruxism as they play roles in the nervous system regulation.
To supplement vitamin B12 to your body, serve the following foods in your diet:
- Egg (1 yolk or less a week for under one-year-old children, no more than 3 eggs a week for the elders and adults)
- Cheese (1 serving is the size of 2 fingers)
- Milk (1 to 2 cups a day for children and older people, 1 cup a day for adults)
- Fish (1 serving of any kind of fish is the size of a card)
- Liver, kidney, red meat (adults can eat each once a week but have to reduce the amount for children)
To supplement vitamin B5 to your body, it is best to comply with the list of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) here:
- 2 milligrams, 3 milligrams, and 4 milligrams for children from 1 to 3 years, 4 to 8 years & 9 to 13 years respectively.
- 5 milligrams for people who are older than 14.
- 6 milligrams for pregnant women.
- 7 milligrams for lactating women.
6. Add Vitamin C-Rich Food To The Diet
This seems to be surprising for many people, but vitamin C has a huge benefit to your mood. Patients having a lower level of vitamin C than normal people have confirmed they are more prone to experience fatigue or depression, and their mood gets better after vitamin C supplementation. More reliably, some professional studies have shown that vitamin C has the ability to reduce anxiety and improve mood even of people who do not have low vitamin C level. So based on the relationship between anxiety and teeth grinding, increasing the intake of vitamin C will have positive effects on both conditions.
You can easily find sources of vitamin C in:
- Fruits: Cantaloupe, citrus fruits (including juices), kiwi fruit, mango, papaya, pineapple, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries), etc.
- Vegetables: Bell peppers, broccoli, tomato, snow peas, kale, etc.
7. Include Magnesium In Daily Meals
Symptoms of magnesium insufficiency in the body are often difficult to diagnose unless its level is too low. If you have a severe low magnesium level, you may experience different mental disorders, which refer to mental numbness, delirium, depression, and anxiety . Among them, depression and anxiety are directly related to sleep bruxism.
To reach the needed intake of magnesium, you should well-reserved these foods in your kitchen:
- Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale)
- Fruits (avocados, figs, bananas, raspberries)
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashews)
- Legumes (black beans, kidney beans)
- Oily fish (tuna, salmon)
You can also choose to get through your mouth a magnesium supplement tablet by sticking to this dosage list:
- 80 milligrams per day for children ages 1 to 3 years.
- 130 milligrams per day for children ages 4 to 8 years.
- 400 milligrams per day for the elders and adults.
IV. When To See The Dentist?
Teeth grinding will make your teeth condition unbelievably worse if you do not detect it in time. Not only that, it affects your daily life because you will face headaches and jaw pain later in the morning. Do not wait until your teeth are loose, chipped, cracked, or even broken to find a dentist, but take action as soon as you notice the first signs. And do not hesitate to discuss with him since he is the one who knows best what you should do.
Regular dental checkups are extremely important not only for bruxism trouble but also for general oral health. The time interval between two consecutive visits depends on how old you are and how you are aware of your daily dental care, but ideally 6 to 8 months for children and 12 to 18 months for adults. At this moment, we hope you have locked in your mind every useful information about teeth grinding. Feel free to leave a comment to share with us if you know other helpful tips on how to stop teeth grinding, and do not forget to visit our main How To page for more handy tips on other health issues.
All contents provided are for informational and educational purposes. We recommend you consult a healthcare professional to determine which method is appropriate for you.