Teeth grinding also referred to as bruxism is a medical condition characterized by excessive and repeated biting down and grinding of teeth with clenching of the jaw. Common symptoms of teeth grinding include: headaches, ear and teeth aches, pain affecting the muscles of the face and erosion of the enamel of the teeth. Teeth grinding is common during sleep with little or no effect on health and well being. However, repeated and excessive grinding can damage the teeth and affect the sleep of a partner. It occurs in both adult and children. In children, teeth grinding occurs frequently when the child is anxious or when throwing tantrums.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
- Drugs used in the treatment of certain neuropsychiatry disorders can cause teeth grinding. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been implicated as a cause of bruxism e.g. sertraline and fluoxetine
- Excessive alcohol and cigarette smoking
- Use of cocaine and other ecstatic drugs
- Nutritional deficiency-deficiency in vitamin B especially vitamin B5, calcium and magnesium have been implication in the etiology of bruxism.
- Dental disorders like mal-alignment and malocclusion of the teeth
- Hyperactive and attention deficit disorder also predisposes patients to teeth grinding
Medical treatment of Teeth Grinding
Treatments are available for complication of bruxism e.g. dental abscess, cracked tooth and dental erosion.
Alternative treatment of Teeth Grinding
- Behavioral therapy- cognitive behavioral therapy has been used effectively in changing the way we view problems in our life. This treatment gives a patient a positive view of the condition and assists the patient in developing problem solving techniques.
- Muscle relaxation exercise-is used to relax the group of muscles surrounding the mouth. This reduced the frequency of bruxism
- Sleep hygiene: since most episodes of teeth grinding occur at night, sleep hygiene and therapy can be used in the management of teeth grinding.
- Use of mouth guards and splints- patients suffering from teeth grinding benefits from mouth guard and splints. These are special devices that are made to fit the teeth. They help prevents bruxism and its effects on the teeth.
- Stress and anxiety management- stress and anxiety are known risk factors of bruxism, management of stress and anxiety reduce frequency of bruxism.
- Yoga and deep breathing exercise reduces stress, anxiety and helps in relaxing groups of muscles.
Home remedies of Teeth Grinding
- Avoiding alcohol and cigarette smoking
- Get adequate sleep and rest
- Tell your mind that teeth grinding is a bad behavior. This helps your brain to desensitize itself thus reducing incidence of bruxism
- Avoid heavy fatty and carbohydrate meals at bedtime. These foods have a suppressant effect on the brain. Instead, have a fruit salad, vegetables or a light protein and fiber meal.
- Avoid stressful activities at all cost.
- The tip of the tongue when placed in between the teeth provides control over teeth grinding
- Sore/ muscle pain can be relieved by placing an ice pack over the affected area
Diet solution of Teeth Grinding
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean white meat. Vitamins and minerals are found abundantly in fruits and vegetables. When eaten fresh, the bioavailability is high and the nutrients are easily absorbed by human intestines.
Vitamins and minerals
- Calcium- deficiency in calcium is responsible for tetany which is an involuntary spasm of muscle groups. Spasm of the jaw muscle is attributed to nutrition deficient in calcium.
- Vitamin B especially vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) helps in reducing stress, improves nerve growth and functions.
- Vitamin C- vitamin C in diet is obtained from fruits especially citrus fruits. Incorporating fruits into your daily diet provides the body with antioxidants which helps in neutralizing reactive radicals produced as a result of stress and toxins. These toxins affect nerves and muscles leading to involuntary muscle contractions
- Melatonin-this is a potent antioxidant, muscle relaxant and a sleep enhancer. The cumulate benefit of melatonin is expressed as a sound sleep devoid of teeth grinding. Rich plant sources or melatonin includes: rice, tomatoes, bananas, apples, grapes and green leafy vegetables.
- Magnesium, zinc and chromium are micronutrients obtained from fruits and vegetables. These minerals help in reducing stress, improve quality of sleep and prevent teeth grinding.