Some people have the habit of grinding the teeth and clenching the jaw. In medicine, it is called bruxism.
Causes and Complications
According to Web MD, people grind their teeth due to stress and anxiety. As per the publication, the bruxism usually happens during sleep and it probably results from an abnormal bite, a missing tooth, or crooked teeth. Also, the condition may be caused by sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. As per NHS UK, bruxism is associated with obstructive sleep apnea or OSA, a sleep disorder that interrupts a person’s breathing during sleep. While the exact dynamics between teeth grinding and the sleep disorder remains unknown, about 70 percent of the condition are linked to stress and anxiety, as per the publication.
Bruxism may also be harmful in some circumstances. As per Web MD, chronic bruxism may lead to fracturing, loosening, and/or losing a tooth or teeth. The grinding mechanism may also damage the teeth, leaving them to stumps. In this regard, treatment like bridges, root canals, crowns, implants, and partial to complete dentures may be needed.
Bruxism has also established some figures on a global scale. According to Dr. Moti Nissani’s study, about five to 20 percent of the American population suffers from teeth grinding and only four-fifth of the population actually know that they have the condition. However, it is not always the case even though a number of people grind their teeth while asleep. Other data, as per Dental Blogs, also claimed that 14 to 20 percent of children and eight percent of adults in the United States have bruxism while up to one-tenth of the American population who grind their teeth have risk for tooth damage.
Signs and Symptoms
Bruxism may be teeth grinding per se for some, but it presents a number of symptoms. According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of the condition include flattened, chipped, fractured, or loose teeth; jaw or face pain; teeth grinding; increased tooth sensitivity; dull headache and tongue indentations.
While medical management is available to counter bruxism, the following home remedies can also be done to manage the condition.
The use of certain oils helps manage bruxism. According to Thinking Moms Revolution, oils like lavender, Roman chamomile, valerian, and oil blends aid resolve anxiety and stress, which are both associated with teeth grinding. While valerian also gives lucid dreams to some people, chamomile is also regarded as a homeopathic remedy; meaning, the latter can be given to teething children. Also, chamomile is also effective in calming a person.
Jaw exercises can be done as remedy for bruxism. According to Arizona Family Dental, the person uses a warm and wet washcloth on the jaw. Next, he places his thumb below his chin and opens and closes his mouth while keeping his thumb in place. Then, he puts his thumb and forefinger on the front of his chin and pushes his jaw out for his hand to move forward. After that, he puts his tongue on the root of his mouth and opens and closes. Finally, he positions his finger inside his mouth and lets his jaw go slack.
The blend of mild and turmeric stands as an answer for bruxism, according to 1800 Remedies. As per the publication, milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which helps a person feel relaxed, in addition to calcium, which strengthens the teeth. To add, turmeric helps reduce headache and jaw pain. To prepare, a cup of milk is boiled and a teaspoon of turmeric is added. A teaspoon of honey can also be added to taste. As per the publication, the milk is consumed 30 minutes following dinner and 20 to 25 minutes before going to bed.
Bruxism is not as severe as a heart attack; however, it causes anxiety and interference of a person’s activities of daily living. Thus, it is vital to discuss this to a general practitioner for proper assessment, which includes dental health, planning, interventions, and health education.