How To Stop Grinding Teeth
How To Stop Grinding Teeth
Brian Halvorsen, dentist, explains in this video how to avoid grinding and clenching your teeth. He gives practical advice on how to do this. He tells you that you can stop clenching just by becoming aware of the fact that you are clenching your teeth and trying to make a habit of keeping your teeth apart. He says that stress is the main reason we clench our teeth and that getting into yoga or meditation program can help to de-stress. He also recommends certain exercises you can do to help your jaw muscle. Lastly, he says that if the problem does not get better to visit your dentist who has several things that can help you as well.
I'm Brian Halvorsen and I'm a dentist. I've been in practice for over thirty-five years and I've written a book about my principles on holistic dentistry. The book is called Great Teeth for Life.
In this video, I'm going to talk about tooth grinding. It's becoming very, very common partly because the major cause of tooth grinding is actually stress. This is because our minds are often very active, especially at night, we do not switch off, and we tend to clench our teeth and grind our teeth at night and often we are only aware of it when your partners say of the crunching and noises that you make or you may wake up in the morning and find that your jaws are literally tired and your teeth just do not feel that they are in the correct position because often, the position you grind in is actually not the normal position where you put your teeth together.
Now, tooth grinding can cause an awful lot of problems and often the initial sign of tooth grinding is actually that of jaw ache and also the joints. Now the joints, what we call the TMJ, are these joints here and they may start to have either clicking or just get pain. Now, if this is left to carry on, this can lead to a complete osteopathic problem where you can get headaches, neck ache, backache, sinusitis, and the whole situation is called TMJ syndrome and all sorts of frankly weird and wonderful osteopathic problems can occur simply by clenching your teeth too much.
What can we do about it? First of all, we advice obviously to take up something like yoga or meditation, somewhere where you can actually de-stress. Now, on a more practical note, what you can do is often do jaw exercises and this can be literally anything from passive where you could say for example, one of the situations where often people do clench their teeth a lot is when they are driving so you have your lips together, teeth apart. By doing that, you can just automatically relax your jaw muscles.
The other is what I call isometric exercises where in fact you may say put your hand on your chin and protrude it and you push it that way. You also do this on the side like this so you keep your static, but you actually press against it. Now, what this actually does is actually it tightens these muscles here.
Now, the tighter those muscles or more tone they become, it does take away this reflex action. Now this is a relatively sort of nice way to do it without any interference from say a dentist. If you find this continues and it's getting worse and it gets to the point that sometimes, the jaw, you can hardly open it because there is so much tension in the muscles here that it becomes a point where you need help.
If it's left to carry on, these joints can also become arthritic, so seek the help of a dentist and often his advice will be, he will make you a little plastic mouth guard. Now, this is relatively thick and it's normally made in a soft material. Sometimes, if this doesn't work, you can move on to a much more precise appliance, which literally sets your jaw in the position that the dentist thinks is correct.
Now today, if we find that we want something where we just cannot restore your teeth permanently, you can actually now, with the use of white composite fillings, you can actually put little building blocks on the teeth, which actually automatically keeps your jaw slightly apart and relaxed. Interesting new finding is the wider your jaws are open, the more these muscles relax and they don't get into a spasm. This is where we find that by clenching, you are putting too much strain and can then lead to this spasm activity, which we do not want.
I'm hoping that this actually will give you some hints on clenching and if you have any problems, please visit your dentist. Thank you. .