Bruxism — the name sounds worse than what it is. It is just the term for grinding your teeth. Many people clench their teeth and grind them both during the day and at night while asleep. Often, it's the body's unconscious response to stress or pain.
For most people, bruxism isn't anything to be concerned about. For some, the wear and tear on the teeth and jaw creates a problem that dentists have to address. If your dentist is talking to you about bruxism, here are seven things you can do at home to help relieve the clenching and grinding on your own.
1. Mouth guard. One of the most traditional and well-known ways of dealing with teeth grinding is with a mouth guard, according to the Mayo Clinic. You can pick up a mold at most drugstores to shape to your teeth at home, or your dentist can customize one for you.
2. Biofeedback. For those who grind their teeth during both the day and the night, the Mayo Clinic recommends trying biofeedback. This is the process of being retrained not to clench your teeth and jaw, but rather how to properly close them.
3. Stress management. If stress is the reason you find yourself clenching and grinding, the Mayo Clinic says to find some ways to help relieve your stress. You can take up a sport, listen to soothing music, start a hobby, or speak with a counselor.
4. Valerian root. Good sleep is important. Often, those who suffer from bruxism have disturbed sleep, so Dr. Axe recommends taking valerian root to help you relax. Speak with your doctor to get a proper dosage and a trustworthy brand.
5. Lavender essential oil. Lavender is known to help people relax. As long as you're not allergic to it, Reader's Digest recommends putting several drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle with water. Every night before you go to bed, spray your pillow with it. It should cause you to relax and get more restful sleep.
6. Magnesium. Dr. Axe shares that many people are magnesium deficient. Eating foods before bed that are rich in magnesium could keep you from grinding your teeth. The foods you should consider are spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, and dark chocolate.
7. Heating pad. Heat is often very relaxing to tense muscles. Reader's Digest says that sometimes applying heat to the jaw muscles is all that is necessary to stop the grinding. Before bed, use a heating pad on each side of your face for 15 minutes.
The fix doesn't have to be super expensive. Play with the different ideas and find the solution that works for you. You shouldn't have to live with discomfort.