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Five Natural Remedies for Teeth Grinding

How deeply do you sleep? You could be grinding your teeth in your sleep and may not know it. About 10% of American adults and 15% of children do so, says the American Sleep Association. While the behavior may not seem harmful at initial glance, it can actually lead to severe complications later on if left untreated. Depending on what causes the teeth grinding, you may relieve the problem with natural remedies you can do at home.

What is teeth grinding?

Bruxism is the proper term for excessive gnashing, gritting, or clenching of the jaw. This results in the grinding of the teeth. Long-term effects of this condition include nerve damage, cracked teeth, and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), or damage to the joint that connects your jaws to your skull. TMD is especially worrisome as it can cause a wide array of symptoms, such as toothache, locked jaw, dizziness, earache, neck ache, hearing problems, and tinnitus, among others.

The first step in treating sleep bruxism is determining the underlying cause of the problem. Common approaches taken to address the condition include the use of mouth guards, correction of teeth alignment, and the prescription of muscle relaxants and antidepressants. However, for people whose bruxism originates from stress and sleeping problems, these natural remedies can be a big help:

  • Managing stress. There are a number of ways to mitigate stress and thus, prevent its many adverse effects. The popular ways of engaging stress include:
    • Creative pursuits and hobbies – These provide outlets or diversions from factors that may trigger stress and help you stay positive.
    • Exercise – This facilitates the release of chemicals that relaxes the body and helps relieve stress, aside from helping you stay fit and healthy. What’s more, exercising can also help you fall into deeper and more comfortable sleep.
    • Yoga and meditation – These activities aid in relaxation and help you adapt to potentially stressful situations. Both activities slow the heart rate, improves concentration, and reduces stress.
    • Essential oils – Lavender, rose, bamboo, chamomile, ylang-ylang, and bergamot oils are used in aromatherapy for their relaxing scents. You can use them at the end of the day or before sleeping to clear thoughts and put the mind at ease. To get the benefits of aromatherapy, you can light a scented candle while having a bath, or to drop a few essential oils into the water.
  • Vitamin C – This nutrient is popular for its immunity- and general health-boosting properties. Aside from helping you avoid common illnesses like the cold, cough, and the flu, it also helps repair damage to cells, leading to good-looking skin and great well-being. It benefits the adrenal glands which help in keeping you more resistant to stress. It also helps in the body’s creation of dopamine, a chemical essential to the regulation of moods. Vitamin C can be found in many fruits and vegetables, especially citruses and peppers, guava, papaya, broccoli, kale, and strawberries, to name a few. If you don’t have time to eat naturally-occurring Vitamin C, then you can opt for supplements.
  • Magnesium – This mineral aids in relaxation and the regulation of moods. Magnesium deficiency can lead to anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and hyperactivity. Among the most common sources of magnesium are supplements which can be taken before sleeping to improve the restfulness of your slumber. The mineral can also be found in many fruits and vegetables, such as avocados, bananas, almonds, figs, spinach, black beans, and pumpkin seeds. It may also be found in food like yogurt and dark chocolate.
  • B-Vitamins – Vitamin B in its many forms is crucial to good health. For one, it helps you absorb carbs and convert them into energy, which means it enables you to go through the day with vigor and life. As a whole, B Vitamins benefit human beings in all stages of life: they help babies develop properly in the womb, they help children grow, they improve metabolism, they prevent diseases like beriberi, and they help older people avoid a stroke. Deficiency in them can lead to psychological stress and depression, so they are also helpful in stabilizing one’s moods. Vitamin B-rich food includes most fruits (except citrus), potatoes, vegetables in the cabbage family, fish, chicken, organ meats like liver, as well as sea foods, such as scallops.
  • Valerian Root – Valerian is a flowering plant, the flowers of which has been used as an ingredient in perfumes and the roots as a natural remedy for insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing found that 800 mg of valerian root administered over eight weeks may help improve the symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS), a condition characterized by the irresistible urge to move the legs, even when asleep. With the benefits of valerian root on RLS which, like bruxism, is considered a sleep-related movement disorder, it may be safe to assume that this remedy may also have advantageous effects for people suffering from teeth grinding.

In order for bruxism to be truly treated, you need to get to the underlying cause and to eradicate the condition once and for all. After an initial consultation with your dentist, you may be referred to experts in what could be causing your bruxism—such as a counselor if it is stress-related, or a sleep specialist, if it is sleep-related. Whatever the case, the treatment methods prescribed by these professionals can go a long way in relieving you of the effects of bruxism.

As for the treatments mentioned above, it is worth mentioning that not all of them may be ideal for everyone, particularly if they involve food and substances that may be known as potential allergens. Some of them, such as seafood, dairy products, and certain fruits, can cause allergies in some people. For this reason, you must also discuss with your doctor the feasibility of using any of these natural remedies so that you can maximize its benefits without incurring possible side effects or risks.