What is Bruxism?
Bruxism refers to an excessive clenching together of the bottom and upper jaw accompanied by the grinding of the lower set of teeth with the upper set. Most people are unaware that they are grinding or gnashing their teeth because it frequently occurs at night (referred to as Sleep Bruxism). Usually it is only when someone points it out that people with Bruxism become aware that they are grinding their teeth.
Bruxism affects adults and children and, although not usually a serious medical problem, it can wreak havoc in the mouth - causing teeth to loosen and become painful. Parts of the teeth sometimes break having been ground away completely. This can lead to jaw joint disorders, pain, headaches, earaches, damaged teeth and abrasions in the mouth.
It is important if you experience Bruxism symptoms that you seek proper diagnosis and treatment. Bruxism symptoms include:
- Teeth grinding and teeth clenching
- Facial pain
- Oversensitive teeth
- Tongue indentations
- Damage to the tooth enamel causing the inside of the tooth to be exposed
What Causes Bruxism?
The exact causes of Bruxism are not exactly known, but a combination of factors may contribute to the problem. Factors that could trigger Bruxism symptoms include:
- Anger, pain or frustration
- Anxiety, stress or tension
- Certain personality types (particularly, aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personalities)
- Malocclusion (teeth that are not aligned properly)
- Diet and sleeping habits
Help for Bruxism
There are a number of ways to treat Bruxism. The aim of treatment is to alleviate pain, prevent permanent damage to teeth and change teeth clenching behaviors as much as possible.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from Bruxism you should consult your dentist. The dentist would most likely recommend a mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding together.
Solutions for Bruxism include surgery but only recommended in extreme cases. Medications administered to treat this condition are usually muscle relaxants or mild sleeping aids.
Other solutions for Bruxism such as natural and alternative therapies have proven to be beneficial in reducing the Bruxism symptoms. These therapies include:
- Stress management
- Relaxation therapy and meditation
Herbal Remedies also offer solutions for Bruxism since they can relieve tension and help to soothe the emotional problems causing teeth grinding and teeth clenching. These include Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort), Passiflora incarnata, Melissa officinalis and Lavender. Homeopathic ingredients such as Phytolacca, Zinc and Arsenicum can also provide a safe, non-addictive alternative to traditional medications.
Try herbal teas of hops, passion flower, peppermint or lemon balm to soothe and calm your nerves when you are feeling anxious and stressed. Consult a homeopath or herbalist for advice on incorporating natural therapies into your treatment plan.