Teeth grinding, medically referred to as bruxism, impacts the ability for over 30 million people of all ages to get a good night’s sleep.
Currently, researchers are working on determining what the exact cause or causes are of this painful, and self-destructive condition. However, there is some evidence pointing towards both stress and anxiety as being huge contributing factors to teeth grinding. There have also been findings that point to substances like alcohol and caffeine as the culprits behind the issue. In addition, bruxism has been found to be most common in those suffering with sleep conditions like sleep apnea.
Although mouth guards are often the first line of defense against teeth grinding, there are several drawbacks to using this approach.
The first drawback, is the actual price of these devices. The average cost ranges from $300 to $1,000 when patients go through their dentists to obtain a mouth guard that is customized to fit them “perfectly.” In spite of this customization, the chief complain amongst patients who choose this route is that the guard doesn’t fit right, is uncomfortable to wear, or further disrupts their sleep.
Finally, the biggest downside to mouth guards is that they don’t treat the actual problem of teeth grinding at its root. Instead, they merely treat the symptoms of it and protect an individual’s teeth. The actual teeth grinding is never stopped.
So, what are some more affordable and feasible alternative to the mouth guard?
There are a plethora of options to choose from. There is evidence to support that cognitive beahvaioral therapy can work to lessen an individual’s overall stress and anxiety levels, as well as replace bruxism with a more effective, less damaging coping strategy.
Speaking of coping methods, exercise of almost any kind has also been found to help those suffering from teeth grinding kick the habit. Specifically, exercise like meditation, yoga, or tai chi that focus on mindfulness have been found to have the greatest impact. Additionally, according to the Journal of Oral Science, eating more magnesium rich foods (like spinach and almonds) can help combat bruxism as well. Magnesium has been linked to play a role in both proper muscle and nerve functioning.
Overall, there are many solutions to help individual’s deal with and overcome teeth grinding at night without the use of an uncomfortable, pricey mouth guard.
From therapy, to exercise, and even just cutting out caffeine; simple lifestyle changes have been proven effective in overcoming bruxism and getting a good night’s sleep. Furthermore, decreasing your overall levels of both stress and anxiety can have a beneficial impact on other areas of your life as well.
Your overall mood will improve, you’ll feel empowered to tackle more challenges at work/home, and you will be the best version of yourself.