The condition in which a person clenches or grinds his/her teeth involuntarily, especially during sleeping is known as Bruxism. Normally a person does grind his teeth when he is angry. This condition is a result of habitual clenching or grinding of teeth. Bruxism may occur during day or night but commonly it happens at night. Nocturnal bruxism is very common among kids and almost 5-29% adults suffer from it.
Bruxism in itself is harmful for teeth and the whole denture. Its chronic case may lead to fractures, loosening of teeth and sometimes even loss of teeth. The grinding process may lead to hearing problems, jaw disorders, headache, temporomandibular disorders (TMD); etc.
Some common symptoms of bruxism are:
- Worn tooth enamel
- Loose teeth or lost teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Cheek pain
- Facial pain
- Sensitive teeth
- Sore jaws
- Changed facial appearance
The main job is to recognize and diagnose that one is suffering from bruxism. One may ask their spouses or for smaller kids, the parents must observe if they suffer from either of the symptoms. When one is sure about this condition, a dentist must be consulted immediately to avoid further complications. This condition must be attended to as soon as possible to avoid dental fractures or hearing loss.
Common causes that can lead to this condition are:
- High stress levels(personal, physical or work related)
- Some unfulfilled or unspoken emotions
- Faulty diet and unhealthy lifestyle
- Oral or facial trauma
- Diabetes or hypoglycemia
Some home remedies and precautions:
- Begin a good exercise routine and try distressing yourselves with meditation, yoga, tai-chi. The need is to identify what exactly are the causes that lead to stress, try working on them or visit a counselor for help. One may visit a Reiki practitioner to detoxify the body of stress and other such toxins.
- Avoid oily/spicy food, alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, chocolates
- For kids, one may engage them in some calming activities before sleep like meditation or listening to classical music, massage followed by warm bath. Try talking to them about any abuse or bullying going on in schools, any study related issues and find the root cause of the illness. If you can’t do it, take them to a certified counselor. Parents must avoid pressurizing or scolding the kids. Love is the key, rest all are evil or leads to the bigger evils.
- Vitamins like B5,B12,B6 and minerals like calcium, magnesium, chromium and natural chemicals like melatonin are useful to ensure proper working of the nervous system, reducing stress and normalizing sugar levels. They must be supplemented if advised.
- Munch on a carrot or apple before retiring to your bed. It will calm the nerved around the teeth and ensure no grinding or comparatively lesser grinding.
- To soothe ones jaws and facial muscles and prevent clenching, dip a washcloth in warm water and apply it around the face starting from one side to the another ,at night.
- Do not sleep on your sides; instead try sleeping on your back.
- Drink some warm milk with natural vanilla essence to ensure relaxation and deep sleep.
- Deep breathing techniques like anulomb-vilomb, bhasrika can be of great help if practiced daily.
- One may try a mouth guard for chronic cases, prescribed by a dentist.
- Try deep breathing or clenching a soft ball when one gets angry. This will lead to drainage of anger then and there and no pent up emotions will be there.