If left untreated, teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) can lead to dental damage like worn teeth, increased sensitivity and even loss of teeth. It can be painful too, causing jaw pain and headaches. Often affecting you in your sleep, the condition can be your body’s way of telling you that you have high stress and anxiety levels.
If you suspect you’re grinding your teeth in your sleep, here are the next steps you can take to help you stop.
Address the cause
The first step to stopping is to understand what’s causing you to grind your teeth. For this, you should speak to your doctor or dentist. If the problem is physical (for example, to do with the alignment of your teeth, jaw or a side-effect of medication) your doctor will advise you on solutions.
If the cause is stress and anxiety, this is your cue to look at your lifestyle and see how you can reduce stress.
Make lifestyle changes
Taking regular exercise to reduce stress, drinking less alcohol and quitting smoking can all help to prevent bruxism. Think about ways you could reduce unhealthy habits that may be making you more stressed and create new, healthy habits instead.
Reduce stress and anxiety
As we’ve mentioned, stress and anxiety are often big factors when it comes to bruxism. Try to reduce your stress levels with mindfulness and self-care. If you’re struggling with severe stress and anxiety, you may find it helpful to speak to a counsellor.
Decide on a treatment plan
Speak to your doctor about your treatment options and decide together which approach would be best for you. There are several options available, from mouth guards to behavioural therapy. For many sufferers, a combination of approaches works well.
Teeth grinding is an unconscious act normally triggered by stress and tension. The aim of hypnotherapy for bruxism is to use suggestion techniques that will re-pattern the thoughts that lead to teeth grinding. Hypnotherapy can also be used to address the root cause of your teeth grinding by reducing stress, encouraging relaxation and reducing anxiety.
See your dentist regularly
To ensure your teeth are staying healthy and aren’t getting damaged, be sure to visit your dentist regularly. They will be able to look for signs of damage and can let you know if they suspect your bruxism is improving or getting worse. Seeing your dentist often will also allow them to spot any problems early, allowing them to treat them before they get worse.