What is bruxism ?
Teeth grinding, known medically as bruxism, is when you clench or grind your teeth together. Left untreated over time this can lead to damaged teeth and other complications such as headaches and jaw disorders. Many people with bruxism unknowingly grind their teeth during sleep or grind unconsciously during the day.
What are the symptoms ?
Symptoms of bruxism are grinding or clenching teeth, worn, flattened, chipped, or overly sensitive teeth, tight jaw or jaw pain, earache because of a tight jaw, disrupted sleep, neck and shoulder tension, or headaches.
What Causes Teeth Grinding ?
Stress & Anxiety
Some people are more vulnerable to the physical and psychological impact of stress and your personality comes into play here as everyone handles stress differently. It has been reported by Bruxism.org that approximately 70% of teeth grinding is a result of psychological factors such as anxiety and/or stress.
Alcohol, sleeping pills, caffeine, tobacco, and depression/anxiety medication are all substances that stimulate the mind and in turn often can cause disrupted sleep patterns and daytime sleepiness. It is widely known that Bruxism is induced by the use of psychoactive substances that alter the consciousness, mood and thoughts of the consumer.
Many sleep disorders are linked with teeth grinding, they most always accompany one another. Sleep apnoea is the most common of all the sleep disorders, which creates a lack of oxygen to the brain, altering its consciousness much like a psychoactive substance does.
When to See a Dentist ?
Teeth grinding can lead to many oral health problems such as erosion, loss of teeth, cracked teeth and TMD/TMJ. Consult with your dentist early if you suspect you have bruxism, as their knowledge and experience will enable them to see any evidence of teeth grinding that is usually not noticeable by the untrained eye. If your dentist sees signs of teeth grinding then initially a custom mouth guard can be made to protect your teeth from further damage while you get to the root cause of the issue.
What natural options are available to help with Bruxism ?
If anxiety or stress were causing you to grind your teeth it would be advisable for you to locate the trigger and work on alleviating the problem. The best solutions seem to be lifestyle, behavioural and dietary changes that reduce stress.
Many sufferers report that exercise, massage, meditation, counseling or yoga are all great stress-busters. You could try taking fish oil or Omega 3 supplements high EPA to help to regulate your moods. Adrenal support diets and supplements have been reported to help manage stress levels and therefore minimize teeth grinding. L-Theanine, a natural green tea extract can help to relieve anxiety and aid in serotonin production or a simple diffuser with a few drops of lavender essential oil can help to calm and ground.
There are many reasons why a person may grind their teeth, listed below are a few causations and the possible cure.
Teeth grinding is also associated with mineral deficiency such as being low in calcium, zinc or magnesium. Some people leach minerals faster than others and therefore need to replenish their minerals more often. Heavy metal chelation detox can cause people to lose minerals faster so their intake may require boosting.
Himalayan Salt is a beautiful pink rock salt, mined from the Himalayan Mountains and by dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and drinking it you will receive 84 minerals that the human body requires.
Bone broth is highly nutritious: It fortifies the immune system, enhances digestion and is a delicious way to include more minerals in your diet.
Teeth grinding can also occur due to a structural issue. Osteopaths have a range of techniques to treat teeth grinding, depending on the cause. Some osteopaths do Cranial Sacral Therapy. This too has been reported to help teeth grinders and sleep apnea sufferers.
Acupuncture improves bruxism by correcting the functioning of the organs that are excessive or deficient. Many bruxism sufferers have seen good results with acupuncture. From the Traditional Chinese standpoints there are patterns commonly seen in this disorder.
- When a couple of your organs are functioning at an excessive or hyperactive rate, commonly the heart, stomach, and liver. This is typically seen in people with stress, anxiety, tension, anger and frustration, and hyperactivity or competitiveness. This can leave the mind and body in a restless or agitated state.
- A poor diet that weakens the digestion and causes food stagnation in the digestive system, leaving one restless and feeling oppressed in the chest and stomach, with little desire for food, may have diarrhoea or constipation, abdominal pain, and night-time bruxism.
- A deficiency condition of the blood and qi-energy weakness. The symptoms are commonly, pale complexion, dizziness, vertigo, heart palpitations, pale lips and nails and a disinclination toward sleep with a quiet, low, dull grinding of the teeth.
Some people have amazing results with counselling by getting quickly to the root cause of the problem and overcome it. Your willingness to participate in counselling will impact the success of the treatment. Those who are able to overcome Bruxism with counselling often feel better, cope with anxiety better, and also sleep better too.
Counsellors work with you to get you to take steps in the right direction. Together, you will examine your thoughts and emotions that leave you feeling anxious and find the right approach for you to lessening anxious feelings and reduce the need for you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth.
If you would like more information on teeth grinding, or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dirk Jacobsen at the Dental Pod call us on 03 6234 5114.
Because its time to think differently about your dental health.