Do you find yourself clenching your teeth when in the midst of heavy traffic or at the time when you are dealing with a stressful situation? Has your partner ever complained that you grind your teeth loudly during the night? For many it may not seem like a big deal but teeth grinding or clenching of jaws can be a serious problem.
Also known as “Bruxism”, teeth grinding is a common activity that usually occurs during sleep but can also happen during extended periods of concentration and focus in the daytime. Bruxism is an unconscious behaviour which is usually bought on by stress, tension, and anxiety. While the act may seem harmless enough, over the time it can bring many different problems such as:
- Worn down or loose teeth
- Waking up with headaches
- Jaw pain
- Neck and shoulder pain
Bruxism can negatively impact the individual’s quality of life. The physical effects brought on by the condition can result in disruption of sleep causing performance problems in school or work. Over the time, the pain and tension can lead to severe depression.
Tips to stop grinding your teeth:
Here are some tips that you can follow to stop grinding teeth at night:
Stress is a large factor that contributes to Bruxism. You can relieve yourself from daily stress by attending stress counseling sessions, exercise, massage, and meditating.
Use a night guard:
Though, sleeping with something in your mouth can seem daunting but night guards can reduce the grinding and jaw clenching to relieve you from the accompanying pain, aches, and tooth damage. The night guards are available over-the-counter at local pharmacies or can be custom-fitted by your dentist.
Avoid drinking or eating before going to bed:
Experts believe that having a bedtime snack such as milk and cookies can aggravate Bruxism in many individuals. Excessive alcohol consumptions can also affect a person’s quality of sleep. And a less disturbed sleep means less rest and more nocturnal activities such as teeth grinding.
Avoid chewing gum and non-foods:
Constant chewing in the day time of gums (and even pen lids, pencils) can get your jaws used to clamping. If you have a habit of chewing on things when stressed, try eliminating them by chewing gum or mint whenever the urge arises and slowly wean yourself off them.
Relax before going to sleep:
Reduce stress before going to bed so that you are more relaxed during the night and less likely to grind your teeth. Try taking a long bath, listen to relaxing music, or do light yoga before hitting the hay. This will relax you more and give you more restful sleep.
Hypnotherapy for Bruxism:
Hypnotherapy works with the subconscious mind. And since teeth grinding and jaw clenching at night also occur unconsciously, hypnotherapy can be used to tackle the problem that results in bruxism.
In hypnosis, the clients are put in a state of deep relaxation. When in the relaxed state, the unconscious mind is open to suggestions and re-patterning. The hypnotherapist can encourage new and beneficial thought patterns that will help end the habit quickly and forever.
It has also been observed that 70 % of sleep bruxism is caused by tension and anxiety. These issues are often addressed successfully through hypnotherapy. With hypnotherapy, clients are taught various coping methods that help them react better in stressful situations. With subtle changes in thinking behaviour, you too can stop the habit and prevent any more physical damage.