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How to Stop Teeth Grinding

Updated on November 4, 2009

You may have asked how to stop teeth grinding in your sleep. On the other hand, you may not even be aware there is such a thing. Grinding teeth in your sleep is a condition known as Bruxism, and it can be extremely damaging to your teeth. What's more is many people often don't even realize they have this problem, especially if they happen to live alone.

Have you ever woken with a sore jaw or spasms in the back of your jaw? Do your gums or teeth sometimes hurt for no apparent reason? It could be that you have an issue with grinding your teeth in your sleep. So, again the question is:

How can I stop teeth grinding in my sleep?

Stop teeth grinding damage
Stop teeth grinding damage

Let's explore the condition of bruxism a little first. It is one of the most common sleep disorders, and, according to Wikipedia, bruxism is a parafunctional activity that does occur in many people at some point. It is usually not a health problem for most, but for those who do show chronic signs of this disorder there can be devastating tooth damage and other conditions can result. If allowed to continue eventually teeth grinding from bruxism will shorten and blunt the affected teeth and lead to pain in the facial muscles. TMJ and headaches are the most readily apparent symptoms, especially if the headaches are most common in the morning or after a nap.

Besides the evidence of obvious damage from teeth grinding, the most reliable way to diagnose bruxism is through EMG or electromyographic measurements taken during sleep. Some patients may participate in sleep labs, or there are EMG units which can be worn at home. The most popular of these go under the names SleepGuard and BiteStrip.

Treatment methods including mouthguards, splints and biofeedback devices are all effective as well as making some lifestyle and consumption changes.

So, here are some changes you can make to stop teeth grinding in your sleep:

  • Cut back on your caffeine intake
  • Avoid or limit alcohol consumption as this can intensify the episodes of teeth grinding.
  • Break the habit of chewing on writing implements and limit or discontinue gum chewing as this trains the jaw muscles to clench, which is another cause of bruxism.
  • Drink plenty of hydrating fluids as dehydration can be linked to cases of bruxism
  • Try to eliminate stress from your life
  • If you find yourself clenching your jaws during waking hours, develop the habit of putting your tongue between your teeth to break the bad habit of clenching.

One of the simplest methods of treatment for the home is to purchase a mouthguard to be worn during sleep. This has the obvious use of stopping the damage and stopping teeth grinding with a physical barrier between the teeth.

If you already have severe damage to your teeth you should see a dentist to decide what options are available for repairing your teeth. Usually this involves crowns or other reconstructive methods. You don't have to live with a teeth grinding problem. Change your habits, purchase a mouth guard, and get something done about it now!

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    • profile image

      DJ 

      7 years ago

      I just found out that I grind my teeth.......I can't believe I do it! I hate the noise.....anyway, my dentist made me a guard it was very expensive but it works. It clips on to your bottom teeth and won't move. I am use to it now. It take a few days to get use to wearing it but my teeth were gettig ruined. I could see fractures (little cracks/lines in my teeth). I got Lumineers to 8 of my front teeth $$$$ and a few broke! The dentist tells me "It has never happened" They are making me new ones and a special Lumineer guard! I sure hope it works.

    • profile image

      Treatment For Teeth Grinding 

      7 years ago

      That was quite an informative hub. i used to suffer from this jaw clenching some time ago , i figured out it was due to some medications i was taking . God i saved my teeth !

    • pager7 profile image

      pager7 

      8 years ago from Kampala-Uganda

      A great hub here. Thanks

    • profile image

      Lyn 

      8 years ago

      Hi. My bruxism is so bad, that I actually wake myself up at night, because of the noise of my teeth grinding together! I have done it for years and years and nothing works. I do lead a very stressful life, so I am convinced that ones stress level has something to do with it. I suffer from ear ache, head aches and constantly have sore jaw muscles. I wish I could stop doing this! Mouth guards do work, but only until I wear them through and have to buy a new one. They are not very comfortable at all, and can make breathing hard, especially if you have a cold! There must be a better solution??

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you for reading, Patti Ann! For me it is beer instead of wine, but I am with you all the way. I don't think I'll be giving them up anytime soon.

    • Patti Ann profile image

      Patti Ann 

      8 years ago from Florida

      I am guilty of grinding my teeth - you give some great tips - I'll be sure to try them - not sure if I can give up my coffee or wine though.

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      There are some really eye-opening photos of ground down teeth out there bayareagreatthing. Thanks for checking out my hubs!

    • bayareagreatthing profile image

      bayareagreatthing 

      8 years ago from Bay Area California

      That is so interesting! I never knew it could be so damaging!

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      @habee, hopefully she can get it stopped. At least kids can rely on a new set of teeth coming in, but the habit needs to be broken.

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      @Lady_E, thank you for the comment!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      One of my grandsons does this. I'll tell his mom to read your hub. Thanks!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      A lot of people don't really know when they are grinding their teeth, until they are told by the people they live with. You've provided very good practical tips.

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      @jim10, I have woken to hear the same thing coming from my wife's side of the bed. Her mother has TMJ, so it may be some hereditary connection for them. It is not a continual thing for her, so we haven't sought treatment for it. Thanks for your comments!

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      @HealthTip, I am happy if anything here was helpful to you, and I appreciate you stopping by. Have a good weekend yourself!

    • jim10 profile image

      jim10 

      8 years ago from ma

      hanks for the great information. My wife used to randomly grind her teeth in her sleep. The sound would drive me nuts. Luckily she hasn't done it for years.

    • profile image

      HealthTip 

      8 years ago

      I always grind my teeth but there are a few things in your Hub which I have learnt from, cheers mate and enjoy your weekend !

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      @apricot, I appreciate your comments. I was a little surprised to find out about dehydration as well. It was pointed out as a cause for children in one of the documents I read. I hear you on the mouthguards, but they are supposed to be very effective especially if there is already significant damage. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      @beth811, it is interesting you mention that. I believe many drugs for depression treatment affect serotonin. This is also true of some illicit drugs like LSD and Ecstasy. The only reason I mention that is because in doing research for this I found a report about Oakland "ravers" and how some of the frequent users of ecstasy had similar damage to their teeth as those with bruxism.

    • apricot profile image

      apricot 

      8 years ago from Italy

      Great hub! I'm a renowned teeth grinding culprit and would love to stop - interesting you mentioned dehydration as one of the causes. I'm a bit wary of mouthguards though - for one, I'd hate to look like Hannibal Lector as I go to sleep and two I'm afraid of choking on it in the night!

    • beth811 profile image

      beth811 

      8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

      Thanks for sharing! I also heard that some medications for the treatment of depression can also cause teeth grinding.

    • Jeffrey Neal profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeffrey Neal 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Laura, thank you for reading. I had been sitting on this one for awhile, and failed to remember this was responding to your question. I hope it gave the information you were looking for. :-)

      From my research, not much is different for children except that if they haven't grown in new teeth, then they are lucky that tooth damage isn't permanent due to replacing their baby teeth naturally. Symptoms and some of the causes are reported to be similar for children and adults.

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for a very informative hub!

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