Most people occasionally grind their teeth, and it’s usually harmless. But regular teeth-grinding can cause tooth damage and oral health problems.

Medically referred to as bruxism, teeth-grinding can be caused by stress, anxiety, an abnormal bite, missing/crooked teeth, and sleep disorders.

Most people are unaware of their teeth-grinding because it happens while they sleep. Signs of bruxism include a sore jaw or dull, persistent headache when you wake up. You may learn about your teeth-grinding from a loved one who heard the grinding at night. If you suspect you have bruxism, visit a dentist for examination.

In some cases, bruxism may cause loss, loosening, or fracturing of teeth. Chronic teeth-grinding can severely wear down teeth. Here are four ways to prevent grinding your teeth.

1. Lifestyle and habit changes

Take the following easy steps.

  • Wear a night guard to protect your teeth
  • Exercise regularly to reduce stress
  • Take a warm bath before sleeping to relax your jaws
  • Massage your jaw muscles before sleeping
  • Address anxiety with professional help
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening
  • Avoid chewing non-food items such as pens

2. Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term talk therapy that investigates that thought patterns behind feelings and behaviors. It helps you adopt sound thought associations that empower you to discard destructive habits and develop healthy ones.

Preliminary research suggests that CBT can help to prevent and treat bruxism by treating the underlying anxiety. But more data is needed to make clear connections and draw solid conclusions.

3. Hypnotherapy

Like CBT, hypnotherapy can be a powerful way to alleviate stress and break destructive habits. For that reason, it’s a potentially effective fix for stress-related teeth-grinding. According to the Bruxism

Associations, there’s some evidence for hypnotherapy helping bruxism patients who received two years of treatment. It might not work in all cases, but hypnotherapy is worth considering especially if your teeth-grinding habit is causing oral health problems.

4. Tapping

Also referred to as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), tapping is a form of therapy that borrows greatly from certain aspects of acupuncture. Rather than using acupuncture needles, EFT involves tapping your fingers on certain pressure points on your body.

Many people who grind their teeth have reported this method’s effective. However, there’s limited research on the effectiveness of tapping beyond the anecdotal evidence. Still, the well-documented effectiveness of tapping for PTSD suggests that it has potential for preventing teeth-grinding.

Ultimately, if teeth grinding is an issue you suffer from and aware of, it is recommended the first course of action is to see a dental specialist to see if there is any current damage, and then to discuss what the correct recommendation or remedy is for your particular issue.

The team at Bright Smiles Dentistry help treat teeth grinding and many other issues relating to dental health. Contact them today to arrange an appointments and put a stop to your teeth grinding sooner.