Ever since I was little I would grind my teeth in my sleep. Sometimes I would wake myself up when the grinding got to be too intense or loud. As a teenager my dentist warned that tooth damage was already becoming apparent from grinding my teeth at night. He made me a dental guard to help ward off extensive dental damage. As a teenager I did not take his cautions to heart and rarely slept with the guard in my mouth. Now, as an adult, my teeth grinding has subsided a bit but I still occasionally wake my husband up with the annoying sounds of tooth on tooth grating.

Now that I am more mature and realize that ignoring the problem will not make it go away I have done a bit of research into this issue. The dental community has a term for people who grind their teeth in their sleep at night. It is called Bruxism.

Some people believe that those who grind their teeth in their sleep may do it to relieve stress. Others think it may afflict people who have an “abnormal bit or missing or crooked teeth.*” Either way, it makes me feel bad to wake up my husband at night and sometimes it makes my jaw sore in the morning. If I am particularly aggressive when grinding my teeth at night I can feel my molar teeth ache the next day. While those days are rare, it is really annoying and has to be causing tooth damage.

Since I do not want to cause irreversible dental damage to my teeth I have found some ways to alleviate grinding my teeth at night. The most common way to protect yourself from tooth damage is to have your dentist fit you with a night guard. I tried this when I was younger and would spit the guard out in my sleep. It is also not very fashionable to get in bed with your husband wearing a piece of plastic in your mouth. So, I am not too excited about this remedy.

The remedies I found on www.WebMd.com seem to fit my lifestyle better. I believe my sleep Bruxism comes out the most when I am stressed out. WebMd.com has some suggestions for how to decrease life’s stresses. The one that I like the most is the idea of exercising more. Exercise is a great way to alleviate stress and may help me lose a few pounds in the mean time. It will be like killing two birds with one stone.

Some other ideas you can use to stop grinding your teeth at night as to avoid irreversible dental damage are as follows. First, limit your caffeine intake. Caffeine can make you jittery and on edge so try and cut back especially at night to alleviate your teeth grinding habit. Alcohol is another thing that may intensify Bruxism so try and limit or remove it from your diet. Lastly, if you notice that you are clinching your jaw during the day make a point to relax those muscles. If you make an effort to curb your stressed jaw during the day maybe it will become more relaxed during your sleep as well.

If you ignore the problem of grinding your teeth at night, it will not go away. All you will get is tooth and dental damage, headaches, and possible hearing loss. The first thing you want to do if you suspect you have Bruxism is see your dentist. Share some of the tips here with him and see if he has any other ideas on how to relieve this potentially serious ailment.