Bruxism is a big problem that can cause a lot of damage to your teeth and your quality of sleep. Nearly one in three people — from children to adults — suffers from teeth grinding, and almost 10% of those grind so severely that it reduces their teeth to nubs.
According to research, clenching, grinding and gnashing teeth can be caused by stress, depression, anxiety, a misaligned bite, certain medication and antidepressant use, and sleep apnea. If you suffer from bruxism, the first step is getting help from your doctor or dentist. They can help you figure out what is causing your bruxism and create a plan to reduce the symptoms and damage caused by grinding your teeth. Conventional treatments include correcting the alignment of your teeth using braces, crowns and oral surgery, or reshaping the chewing surface of the teeth to help them align properly. When stress, anxiety or depression causes bruxism, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants or botox injections as a treatment to help reduce your myofacial pain.
However, if none of these options work for or appeal to you, researchers have found more natural ways to fight bruxism that may work instead of or alongside a doctor’s treatment plan. Here are five ways to naturally control bruxism:
- Stress management: Stress is one of the biggest triggers of teeth grinding. Whether you try exercise, meditation, yoga, essential oils or just a long, warm bath before bed, reducing your stress is critical to ending bruxism and being able to sleep better.
- Add more vitamin C: In addition to reducing stress, try boosting your vitamin C levels. Vitamin C is used by our adrenal glands, which affect our response to stress. It is also helps produce dopamine, which helps regulate moods. You can take a supplement, or just include more vitamin C-rich foods in your diet, including peppers, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, kale and papaya.
- Get your magnesium: If you don’t get enough magnesium, you may feel anxious, irritable, restless, hyperactive and suffer from insomnia. Most adults can take 400 milligrams of magnesium in the form of a supplement before bed to improve their sleep. In addition, you can add more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, such as spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, almonds, black beans, avocado, bananas and dark chocolate.
- Boost your B vitamin intake: If you are deficient in any one of the B vitamins, you can suffer from psychological stress, depression and even panic attacks. Experts say vitamin B5/pantothenic acid may help overcome bruxism because starting with a balanced mood is critical. Most people age 14 and older can take five milligrams a day, but check with your doctor first.
- Try valerian root: Valerian root long has been used as a natural sedative and anti-anxiety treatment. It has been shown to help people sleep better with no side effects. The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that 800 milligrams of valerian over an eight-week period improved overall quality of life and the symptoms of restless leg syndrome, a sleep-related movement disorder that’s closely related to bruxism.
Along with fighting bruxism with natural treatments, don’t forget to protect your teeth by wearing a mouth guard while you sleep. Mouth guards are the best way to protect your teeth from the damage caused by grinding and will help you sleep better. Visit www.sleepright.com to find a mouth guard that works best for you.