The odds are good that you grind your teeth. Nearly one in three people grind their teeth while they sleep or even during the day. Many people suffer from sleep bruxism or awake bruxism without realizing what their symptoms represent.
Sleep bruxism is when you clench your jaw and grind your teeth while you sleep. It is often associated with other sleep-related conditions such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. On the other hand, awake bruxism involves clenching and grinding teeth while you’re awake, often due to stress or anxiety.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of teeth grinding — whether during the day or during your sleep — are similar and potentially debilitating. Symptoms fall into two broad categories: dental-related, and non-dental related. Dental-related symptoms of bruxism include: sensitive and painful teeth, loose teeth, chipped and cracked teeth, worn tooth enamel, flattened biting surfaces, and damaged fillings and crowns. Symptoms of bruxism unrelated to your teeth include jaw, face, and neck pain; temple-focused headaches that feel a lot like earaches; fatigue; problems fully opening or closing your jaw; and signs that you chewed the inside of your cheeks.
An orthodontist in Calgary may recommend several treatment options for bruxism. Conventional approaches to teeth grinding in Calgary are botox injections; muscle relaxants and antidepressants; reshaping of teeth’ biting surfaces, and wearing a mouthguard at night.
Are there potential natural remedies for teeth grinding in Calgary?
One 2015 study published in General Dentistry has found that a combination of wearing an occlusal splint and cognitive behavioural therapy was able to achieve muscle relaxation and improved positioning of the mouth and jaw. An occlusal splint is a specially designed mouthguard often used by people with sleep bruxism or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Sometimes bruxism is a learned or formed habit rather than an indication of a medical condition. In cases where teeth grinding is a habit, biofeedback has shown effectiveness for both awake and sleep bruxism. Biofeedback is a process through which people are trained to understand and control their mental activity and unconscious physical actions.
For people whose bruxism is related to stress, techniques for managing stress can help reduce or eliminate teeth grinding. Common stress management techniques include exercise, yoga, meditation, and the use of essential oils.
Valerian root is often taken for sleep-related movement disorders such as restless leg syndrome. One 2009 University of Pennsylvania study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that 800 mg of valerian root over an eight-week period improved the symptoms of RLS. Sleep bruxism itself is considered a sleep-related movement disorder that may show similar effects.
Increasing your intake of Vitamin C may also help to reduce the clenching and grinding of teeth, particularly when prioritized along with participation in cognitive behavioural therapy or stress management techniques. Vitamin C contributes to our ability to respond to stress and to regulate our moods.
Resolving a magnesium deficiency can help to resolve conditions that have been implicated in awake and sleep bruxism, including anxiety and insomnia. Magnesium deficiency can be resolved by taking 400 mg of a good quality supplement before bed for improved sleep and by prioritizing foods that naturally contain magnesium. Those are foods like spinach and chard, bananas and avocados, almonds and black beans, kefir and yogurt, and even dark chocolate.
B-Complex vitamins are essential to our overall health, but a B-vitamin deficiency can trigger symptoms associated with bruxism, including panic attacks, stress, and depression. Vitamin B5 has been associated with a balanced mood that is helpful in addressing bruxism.
If you are experiencing symptoms that may be related to sleep or awake bruxism, you should discuss them with your doctor and dentist or orthodontist near you. They’ll be able to investigate the significant health issues that can arise, and recommend appropriate steps to help you resolve the symptoms.