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

Children are more likely to grind teeth compared to 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 the nocturnal bruxism or sleep bruxism. The one that occurs during daytime could be monitored and controlled more easily while grinding that happens at night are difficult to deal with.

Statistics has shown that approximately 20% of world population experienced bruxism and in America, there is about 1 in 7 having 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. For the person who grinds the teeth, most likely he may not know that he is doing so.

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

a. Medication – Some medicine, especially those that treat psychiatric issue, such as antidepressant and stimulant.

b. Genetic – It is in the gene, just like illnesses of heart problem, 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 it due to improper breathing.

e. Personality – It is researched that people who have 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 body. These include:

-Having a hype-rsensitive teeth (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
-Tooth ache
-Loosening of teeth
-The shape of the teeth changes
-Loss of teeth when the loosening is serious
-Earache when the structure of 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 mouth guard or splint for you to wear either on the top or bottom row of the teeth. It is made of hard plastic. Of course, this could have side effect such as the front row of teeth (top and bottom) cannot touch each other due to prolong usage.

c. If you have a daytime teeth grinding problem, you could deliberately relax yourself when it occurs in order 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 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 almond. Also, don’t chew chewing gum as this will train your brain to enjoy chewing, and thus conditioning it in the mind.

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

j. Take a few deep breathe to relax yourself.

k. Avoid playing games or watching violent or horror movie that may cause hyper-activity 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, 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 that the conscious mind. Our conscious mind is always filtering data and information and limit only certain information to get into our subconscious. This explains why conscious effort is not fully effective. Conversely, hypnosis by-pass 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 an audio on “Stop teeth grinding” and play it a few times.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Kelvin Ho. I am a certified hypnotherapist from National Guild of Hypnotist and a Master Hypnotist from Regional Hypnosis Centre. I have other professional qualifications that include Certified Human Behaviour Analyst from The Institute of Leadership of America; Certified Trainer from American Union of NLP.

I was a trainer that conducted short hypnosis courses in Community Clubs for the public.

To date, I have written a physical book titled “Wisdom from Space”. The central theme is on Perspective; an e-book titled “Everyone experiences hypnosis but not everyone can be hypnotized” which is currently on Amazon online bookstore. Another of my e-book “5 Reasons Why Hypnosis Is A Good Alternative Medicine” is free and can be found in my blog – www.whiteglovehypnotist.com.