How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

man stressed looking at computer

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

Teeth grinding—also known as bruxism—is a common condition that can cause serious dental problems. If you frequently wake up with a sore jaw or headaches, or if you have flattened teeth, you likely suffer from this condition. Teeth grinding can cause severe damage, so it’s crucial that you seek treatment for bruxism as soon as possible. 

How Does Bruxism Affect Your Teeth?

Grinding or clenching your teeth can have serious long-term consequences. For example, the friction can flatten your teeth, weakening your enamel and leading to sensitivity and an increased risk of tooth decay. The constant pressure of bruxism can also cause teeth to chip, crack, shift out of place, and even fall out. 

Luckily, there are many things you can do to reduce the effects of bruxism—you might even be able to prevent it completely.  

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

1: Recognize Your Triggers

First of all, you need to identify your triggers. The most common causes of teeth grinding are stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration. But certain medications, a misaligned bite, TMJ disorders, sleep apnea, caffeine, and acid reflux can also lead to bruxism. Whether you grind your teeth during the day or at night while you’re asleep, addressing these triggers can help you seek the correct treatment. 

2: Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Managing your stress levels is crucial for your mental health. However, reducing stress and anxiety can also help prevent bruxism. For instance, yoga can help you relax your muscles and relieve physical stress, helping to prevent teeth grinding. Yoga has even been shown to improve periodontal disease treatment, because stress can hinder progress. So if you suffer from gum disease along with bruxism, yoga could help. 

3: Relax and Massage Your Jaw

Unconsciously grinding or clenching your teeth during the day can be caused by jaw tension. If you catch yourself grinding or clenching, relax your jaw by resting the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth. Gently stretching and massaging your jaw and facial muscles—especially before bed—can also help stop bruxism. 

4: Do Not Chew on Hard Objects

Your teeth are designed for eating food. You should never use your teeth as tools or chew on hard objects. Chewing on pens, pencils, or ice cubes makes your jaw have to work harder than normal, which can lead to bruxism. If you have a bad habit of chewing on non-food items, try switching to sugar-free gum instead to satisfy the urge. 

5: Wear a Nightguard

It’s difficult to manage teeth grinding when you’re not even aware of it. But frequently waking up with headaches or jaw pain indicate sleep bruxism. If you suspect that you grind your teeth in your sleep, consider getting a custom-fitting nightguard. This type of mouthguard is designed to fit comfortably over your teeth and correctly align your jaw to prevent grinding. 

6: Create a Calming Bedtime Routine

Another way you can prevent sleep bruxism is by establishing a relaxing bedtime routine to promote quality sleep. Avoid stimulating activities close to bedtime, like drinking caffeinated beverages or looking at a screen. Deep breathing techniques and massaging your jaw can also help you unwind before bed. Going to bed relaxed will help reduce nighttime teeth grinding. 

Bruxism Treatment in Sun Lakes, Arizona

Whether you catch yourself clenching your teeth during the day, or wake up with jaw pain after a bad night’s sleep, we’re here to help. Treating bruxism not only protects your teeth, it can also give you a better night’s sleep. 

At Dr. Saba and Associates, we provide custom-fitted nightguards that effectively treat and prevent bruxism. Give us a call at 480-895-2111 today to schedule a consultation. 


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/26/2023). Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels