Bruxism is a scientific term which is grinding of teeth, gnashing of teeth, or jaw clenching when explained in layman’s terms. It is known to be an unconscious neuromuscular activity.

Children are more likely to grind teeth compared to an adult. One reason could be children tend to be more hyperactive and play a lot during the daytime. Though teeth grinding may occur less when we age, however, it is advisable that adults who are experiencing bruxism do not take it too lightly.

There are basically 2 types of bruxism – one that occurs during the daytime and is known as awake bruxism and the other that we need to be more aware of is nocturnal bruxism or sleep bruxism. The one that occurs during the daytime could be monitored and controlled more easily while grinding that happens at night are difficult to deal with.

Statistics have shown that approximately 20% of the world population experienced bruxism and in America, there is about 1 in 7 has this problem.

For people who have this issue, it is usually easily detectable since the loud noise made at night in a quiet environment sends a strong enough message to members of the family. The person who grinds the teeth, most likely may not know that he is doing so.

What are the possible causes of teeth grinding? Today’s medical is still unable to pinpoint the actual cause specifically but the following are the main reasons:

a. Medication – Some medicine, especially those that treat the psychiatric issue, such as antidepressants and stimulants.

b. Genetic – It is in the gene, just like illnesses of heart problems, diabetes, and thyroid.

c. Teeth Non-Alignment – This is where the upper and lower row of teeth are not properly aligned when clenched.

d. Sleep Problems – Some sleep issues like sleep apnea causes due to improper breathing.

e. Personality – It is researched that people with a certain personality that is aggressive or hyper-sensitive are likely to get it.

f. Teeth Eruption – This is for very young children when new teeth are erupting.

g. Psychological – This is due to psychological reasons ranging from stress, anger, frustration, anxiety, and tension.

Bruxism could cause some negative effects on our bodies. These include:

-Having a hypersensitive tooth (having sharp pains when we take cold or hot drinks)
-Thinning of the protective enamel layer, exposing it to possible bacteria attack
-Headache or migraine
-Aching of the jaw muscle
-Loosening of teeth
-The shape of the teeth changes
-Loss of teeth when the loosening is serious
-Earache when the structure of the temporomandibular joint which is close to our ear canal is affected
-Receding gum
-The tongue experiences a little pain due to “mis-biting” of the teeth
-Cause loud and sharp noise during sleep that may awake the family members
-Have poor concentration due to poor quality of sleep

What is the Cure?

a. There is no direct medication used to cure bruxism. The most a doctor can do is prescribe a jaw muscle relaxing pill.

b. A common cure is to seek the help of a dentist who will examine your teeth and tailor-made a set of a mouth guard or splint for you to wear on the top or bottom row of the teeth. It is made of hard plastic. Of course, this could have side effects such as the front row of teeth (top and bottom) cannot touch each other due to prolong usage.

c. If you have daytime teeth grinding problem, you could deliberately relax when it occurs for it not to clench. In other words, break the habitual pattern.

d. For night teeth grinding, you could not monitor it since you would be asleep. What you could do is change your sleep position (eg. The area you place your feet could be now where you place your pillow).

e. Try to reduce intake of caffeine-related drinks like coffee and tea. Caffeine is like a stimulant that can make our heart pumps faster, placing us in more hyperactive mode.

f. Reduce your intake of alcohol.

g. Reduce your smoking (which acts as another form of stimulant).

h. Avoid chewing hard food like peanuts and almonds. Also, don’t chew chewing gum as this will train your brain to enjoy chewing, thus conditioning it in the mind.

i. Apply a warm towel to your face, especially around your jaw areas.

j. Take a few deep breaths to relax.

k. Avoid playing games or watching violent or horror movies that may cause hyperactivity in your body.

l. Have a conducive sleep environment (darker room, nice temperature, comfortable bed).

m. Drink sufficient water to avoid dehydration.

n. Treat stress, anger, anxiety, tension, and frustration issue. You are the best person to know what you experience during the day and on a perpetual basis. For eg. You feel a lot of stress at work – this could be the cause of your bruxism.

One of the definitions of bruxism is that it is an “unconscious neuromuscular activity”. This is the key. It so happens unconsciously – without you thinking about it. It is happening at the subconscious level. Neuro refers to the brain/mind and muscular is the muscles. It is the brain that causes involuntary movements of the muscle at an unconscious level. Once you understand this, you know that if you try to find a treatment that uses conscious effort, eg a mouth guard, you cannot effectively solve the problem.

Since this is a subconscious issue, you could only tackle it using a subconscious method. One method that is effective and recommended is using hypnosis. Hypnosis is about communicating with our subconscious mind rather than the conscious mind. Our conscious mind always filters data and information and limits only certain information from getting into our subconscious. This explains why conscious effort is not fully effective. Conversely, hypnosis bypass the conscious mind, and the suggestions made would seep directly into the subconscious mind and take effect.

There are 2 ways you could use this – visit a hypnotherapist to resolve your issue or get audio on “Stop teeth grinding” and play it

Author's Bio: 

My name is Kelvin Ho. I am a certified hypnotherapist from the National Guild of Hypnotists.

If you like to know more about hypnosis and related topics, visit my website at: