Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a harmful habit that can wear down the teeth and lead to serious dental damage. Fortunately, restorative dentistry treatments can repair damage caused by teeth grinding and improve oral health.
Although restorative treatments can repair the damage caused by teeth grinding, they generally don't stop a person from continuing to grind their teeth. This is why it's important for those who grind their teeth to find ways to stop this damaging habit. These tips to stop teeth grinding from Philadelphia, PA dentist Bruce Wilderman can help.
Wear a Mouth Guard
Most teeth grinding, which can include clenching, occurs during sleep and often without people even realizing it. Our Philadelphia patients often benefit from wearing a custom-made mouth guard while sleeping to help protect their teeth and restorations from the damage caused by teeth grinding.
Mouth guards for teeth grinding are generally made of plastic or acrylic and are worn over the top teeth at night. It's important to note that mouth guards don't actually stop people from grinding their teeth, but they are one of the most effective ways to prevent damage.
Try Stress-reducing Practices
It isn't known what actually causes people to grind their teeth, but one likely culprit is stress. Because of this, it is often helpful for those who grind their teeth to seek out ways to reduce stress in their lives.
Regular exercise, such as a 20-minute daily walk, can help reduce stress, which in turn may stop teeth grinding. Other ways to reduce stress include meditating, reading, and taking warm baths.
Caffeine consumption may be linked to an increased risk of teeth grinding, especially when large amounts of caffeine is consumed.
Avoiding foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as energy drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate, and sodas, may help stop teeth grinding.
Similar to caffeine, alcohol may increase the likelihood of teeth grinding. Avoiding alcohol, even small amounts, may help prevent the habit.
Actively Train Yourself Not to Grind Your Teeth
Those who notice themselves grinding or clenching their teeth during the day can try actively training themselves not to grind or clench their teeth.
Some techniques that can help include keeping the lips closed but the teeth apart or place the tip of the tongue between the teeth. Both techniques help relax the jaw and prevent the teeth from touching.
Don't Chew Gum
Chewing gum can strain the jaw and encourage clenching, which can lead to teeth grinding. Giving up chewing gum, and avoiding other chewy foods, like taffy or steak, can help the jaw stay relaxed.
Don't Chew Things That Are Not Food
In addition to avoiding chewing gum and other chewy foods, we recommend that our Philadelphia patients avoid chewing on non-food items, like pens or drinking straws. Chewing on these things can cause the jaws to clench and increase the likelihood of grinding.
Relax the Jaw
Relaxing the jaw can reduce strain and prevent clenching and grinding. Some ways to relax the jaw include massaging the jaw, specifically around the temporomandibular joint or where the jaw joins the skull. You can also apply a warm towel around the jawline.
Learn More Ways to Stop Teeth Grinding
If you would like to learn about more ways to stop teeth grinding, including a personalized treatment plan, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wilderman. Call us at (215) 340-1199 today.