2

votes

What can I do about my teeth grinding?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 03, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Just as a preface I am going to be seeing a dentist to repair my mouth guard. I have always ground my teeth, and I believe this might not help my sleeping. I had a wakeup call last night since my mouth guard chipped yesterday.

Are there nutritional components of this? Does it have something to do with posture or the neck muscles?

3fe2bf1367970868757ddf7ed7c62531

(817)

on January 13, 2013
at 01:07 PM

RLS is to me a sign of needing magnesium.. my sister had it and once we had her drink one cup of the Calm Magnesium before bed .. her legs were still and she slept great!

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on July 17, 2012
at 12:17 AM

are these all affected by iron consumption? or from other deficiencies say like bacteria in the gut eating iron?

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 16, 2012
at 11:49 PM

I agree - tooth grinding is likely a symptom. All I am saying is iron deficiency may not be the only cause. I don't seem to grind if I take magnesium, and do not drink alcohol - or stick to one glass very early in the evening, and I'm not stressing.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 16, 2012
at 06:35 PM

Perhaps I am wrong, but I'd call tooth grinding a symptom. Remember, we're not talking about the classic, textbook symptoms of iron deficiency -- by the time those appear, things are really far gone. I didn't have the standard symptoms either, and my blood work was mostly normal, and yet, when the right laboratory investigations were done, I was clearly deficient.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 05, 2012
at 10:31 PM

I've NEVER had a single symptom of iron deficiency, and my blood tests are always good. If I have no symptoms and blood tests are normal - why would I suspect a deficiency? The biggest triggers for me are alcohol and stress.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on July 05, 2012
at 02:03 PM

I was using the Carlsons 5mg. I was also using their cod liver oil, vitamin d3. The k2 seems to me to be what did it, but I appear to be the only one on this forum to experience my jaw relaxing at night (so much that I found out I was sleeping with my mouth open if I took it too close to bedtime), so perhaps it was something else, or the combination. This was accidental too, in that I was trying just to reduce my chances for any more cavities. I have no idea why my jaw muscles responded in this way.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 05, 2012
at 01:12 PM

You asked about tests: If you have symptoms suggestive of an iron deficiency, then you can do an iron panel, which includes ferritin, serum iron and total transferrin (not always available) OR total iron binding capacity (cheap and available almost everywhere). If transferrin or TIBC is elevated then you are very likely deficient. If you have a transferrin saturation (which is calculated from the serum iron and the TIBC) below 25%, then that is suggestive of, at the very least, poor absorption of iron. A history of GI trouble is also a risk factor for iron deficiency.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 05, 2012
at 01:00 PM

Yes, it's in meat, and that certainly helps, but I was eating meat and still ended up deficient. Also, the tests that were done looked normal, until things got so bad it became obvious. I wrote the epic story here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/131949/can-you-have-inflammation-and-not-know-about-it-and-how-it-relates-to-ferritin/132534#132534

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 05, 2012
at 02:52 AM

Stephen you may also be interested to know that a friend of mine took L-Dopa (mucuna pruriens) for her Restless Leg Syndrome. She does have the full blown Mthfr defect so perhaps other genetic issues too!

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 05, 2012
at 02:46 AM

Stephen, U sound like u know what you're are talking about. I know a little @ SNPs & I do think that this area of health is really interesting & is "the future", still its completely unrealistic to think that people are going to have massive genetic testing.I will look at your link. Here's what I would love to know- if somebody has a CBC, Total iron & Ferritin, why or how (under what circumstances) would they even further investigate an iron deficiency? email if U prefer, I'm very interested in this area, thinking @ doing Amy Yasko's panel. Email: [email protected] THANKS

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on July 04, 2012
at 04:38 PM

So what type of tests do you need?

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on July 04, 2012
at 04:37 PM

I see a GI doctor who checks for Iron defeciency. Isn't it in meat too?

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Genetics, for those of us without a serious genetic disease, are just one set of determining factors among many, and if a gene is widely distributed, then it follows it has a reason for being there, or it would have been eliminated from the gene pool long ago. Genetics also influence the way a person metabolizes nutrients, and so can just as easily mean they need more of something than the average; or it can mean they may never ever develop a deficiency. This is why laboratory reference ranges are so problematic: they are determined by a population distribution and ignore genetic variation.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:59 PM

You say you don't have, nor have you ever had an iron deficiency, but how do you really know this? By the tests that are typically performed by doctors, I wasn't iron deficient either. Blood counts and ferritin were normal. With symptoms, I wouldn't trust those two tests alone. There is almost certainly a genetic component; the bigger question is, what genes are involved, and what do they influence? I have one SNP that predisposes me to restless legs syndrome (there's an example of a genetic factor) but can you tell me why people with this SNP have lower ferritin levels?

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:49 PM

You say you don't have, nor have you ever had an iron deficiency, but how do you really know this? By the tests that are typically performed by doctors, I wasn't iron deficient either. Blood counts and ferritin were normal. With symptoms, I wouldn't trust those two tests alone. There is almost certainly a genetic component; the bigger question is, what genes are involved, and what do they influence? I have one SNP that predisposes me to restless legs syndrome (there's your genetic component) but can you tell me why people with this SNP have lower ferritin levels?

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:37 PM

Was your daughter's iron status thoroughly assessed? A normal CBC and a ferritin test can be very misleading, so if those were the basis for diagnosis, I would be very skeptical. I don't know whether women are more likely to grind than men, but they're definitely more likely to be iron deficient. An iron deficiency is probably not the only cause of teeth grinding, but as it is the most common nutritional deficiency by a significant margin, is hard to properly diagnose, and is associated with attention deficits, hypertonias, and parasomnias, it is the most *likely* cause.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:27 PM

How do you *know* you don't have an iron deficiency? Have you had a full iron panel done? Absence of anemia is not an indicator of iron sufficiency, and ferritin is not a reliable test for iron status because it is also an acute phase reactant, so it is elevated in inflammation. I know from personal experience that this is often missed by doctors; clinical practice guidelines are slowly beginning to change (here http://www.bcguidelines.ca/guideline_iron_deficiency.html, "Signs and Symptoms" and "Testing"), but many textbooks mention only on the hematological parameters.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 03, 2012
at 11:05 PM

Also - I dont have to pee in the night - unless I have a drink before bed. I sleep like a log, almost always. I am not tired, as long as I take fish oil and magnesium. I do tend to have tension and stiffness in neck. Bad habit of tensing shoulders up and forward.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on July 03, 2012
at 10:36 PM

What type of k2?

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on July 03, 2012
at 10:35 PM

I'm a guy. I don't have pee that often at night. But everything else is right on. I also don't have an iron deficiency.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 03, 2012
at 09:44 PM

I agree with it being genetic. I have ground/clenched my teeth as long as I can remember and my dad's teeth are tiny from the same habit. I recently got a mouth guard, but find it causes me to sleep with my mouth open. I don't imagine this is a good thing and it's uncomfortable.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 03, 2012
at 09:42 PM

Interesting as I have all the "symptoms" you list, but I do not have iron deficiency. If anything, I have high levels of iron in my blood. My father also grinds/clenches his teeth and my stance has always been that this is somehow an inherited trait and it is how we relieve stress.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 03, 2012
at 08:36 PM

I too disagree with iron deficiency. I've never had that, yet I do tend to grind my teeth.

D2db41500a9385fafe0f50e178717e80

(193)

on July 03, 2012
at 08:03 PM

I'm sure nutrition plays a part, but the greater story is overall stress. There are several treatments to help reduce the physical load on your jaw, but definitely identify any sources of stress and plan how to mitigate them. As for interim treatments, massage your jaw, neck, and skull. Some of the major muscles to look after are the sternocleidomastoid, the levators, and the trapezius. You may want to check out positional release therapy, which has done some pretty amazing things for me.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 03, 2012
at 06:25 PM

This was not enough for my daughter...

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 03, 2012
at 06:24 PM

not always Stephen. This was not the case with my daughter at all, or my brother for that matter. I don't think woman are more prone to grinding than men are they? Also, I have a 42 yr old woman friend who has RLS and she was not iron deficient/impaired and what helped her was L-dopa!

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8 Answers

2
F92a0a13e601a6d302e44a4d4e0e3b91

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I grind my teeth, dentists have been suggesting a mouth guard for years so I finally got one except I simply cannot get used to it, makes me want to gag, no chance of sleep! Anyway I don't think it can be iron as my level is right at the top of the range, tested recently, although that said I was a little anemic when pregnant and had restless legs too which makes sense. As for stress being the cause, everyone says this and it seems the obvious answer except my 4 yr old daughter has been grinding her teeth for as long as I can remember (she co-slept, no missing it!) and how stressed can a co-sleeping, breast-feeding, doted-on child be? Even the dentist couldn't answer that questions, a genetic component perhaps?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 03, 2012
at 09:44 PM

I agree with it being genetic. I have ground/clenched my teeth as long as I can remember and my dad's teeth are tiny from the same habit. I recently got a mouth guard, but find it causes me to sleep with my mouth open. I don't imagine this is a good thing and it's uncomfortable.

3fe2bf1367970868757ddf7ed7c62531

(817)

on January 13, 2013
at 01:07 PM

RLS is to me a sign of needing magnesium.. my sister had it and once we had her drink one cup of the Calm Magnesium before bed .. her legs were still and she slept great!

2
0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 03, 2012
at 08:43 PM

For me the triggers are stress / anxiety about something. Alcohol - big contributor - even just a small amount. Blocked nose, colds. Sleep position - on side it starts, but not on back. Gut issues - eg when I had thread worms - get your gut in order.

I have to manage stress, keep on top of things so I'm not worrying when I go to bed

Drink no alcohol

Take magnesium at bedtime every day. Citrate seems to cause anxiety in some people (anecdotal) I use other forms like malate which helps fatigue.

Dairy free paleo - to keep mucous away

Keeping bedding / carpet in bedroom free / low on dustmites - I react to them and they are a problem in New Zealand (Stuffy nose and puffy eyes)

Take regular good quality omega 3, keeps my brain feeling happier, takes away residual aches and pain (auto-immune / exercise related)

I think there is a genetic component - my sister grinds as well.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Genetics, for those of us without a serious genetic disease, are just one set of determining factors among many, and if a gene is widely distributed, then it follows it has a reason for being there, or it would have been eliminated from the gene pool long ago. Genetics also influence the way a person metabolizes nutrients, and so can just as easily mean they need more of something than the average; or it can mean they may never ever develop a deficiency. This is why laboratory reference ranges are so problematic: they are determined by a population distribution and ignore genetic variation.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:49 PM

You say you don't have, nor have you ever had an iron deficiency, but how do you really know this? By the tests that are typically performed by doctors, I wasn't iron deficient either. Blood counts and ferritin were normal. With symptoms, I wouldn't trust those two tests alone. There is almost certainly a genetic component; the bigger question is, what genes are involved, and what do they influence? I have one SNP that predisposes me to restless legs syndrome (there's your genetic component) but can you tell me why people with this SNP have lower ferritin levels?

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on July 04, 2012
at 04:38 PM

So what type of tests do you need?

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 05, 2012
at 02:46 AM

Stephen, U sound like u know what you're are talking about. I know a little @ SNPs & I do think that this area of health is really interesting & is "the future", still its completely unrealistic to think that people are going to have massive genetic testing.I will look at your link. Here's what I would love to know- if somebody has a CBC, Total iron & Ferritin, why or how (under what circumstances) would they even further investigate an iron deficiency? email if U prefer, I'm very interested in this area, thinking @ doing Amy Yasko's panel. Email: [email protected] THANKS

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:59 PM

You say you don't have, nor have you ever had an iron deficiency, but how do you really know this? By the tests that are typically performed by doctors, I wasn't iron deficient either. Blood counts and ferritin were normal. With symptoms, I wouldn't trust those two tests alone. There is almost certainly a genetic component; the bigger question is, what genes are involved, and what do they influence? I have one SNP that predisposes me to restless legs syndrome (there's an example of a genetic factor) but can you tell me why people with this SNP have lower ferritin levels?

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 05, 2012
at 10:31 PM

I've NEVER had a single symptom of iron deficiency, and my blood tests are always good. If I have no symptoms and blood tests are normal - why would I suspect a deficiency? The biggest triggers for me are alcohol and stress.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 05, 2012
at 02:52 AM

Stephen you may also be interested to know that a friend of mine took L-Dopa (mucuna pruriens) for her Restless Leg Syndrome. She does have the full blown Mthfr defect so perhaps other genetic issues too!

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 16, 2012
at 06:35 PM

Perhaps I am wrong, but I'd call tooth grinding a symptom. Remember, we're not talking about the classic, textbook symptoms of iron deficiency -- by the time those appear, things are really far gone. I didn't have the standard symptoms either, and my blood work was mostly normal, and yet, when the right laboratory investigations were done, I was clearly deficient.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 16, 2012
at 11:49 PM

I agree - tooth grinding is likely a symptom. All I am saying is iron deficiency may not be the only cause. I don't seem to grind if I take magnesium, and do not drink alcohol - or stick to one glass very early in the evening, and I'm not stressing.

2
7b9b5de13a30c823dae64a971cb14add

on July 03, 2012
at 06:46 PM

I started practicing placing my tongue behind my front teeth just where they meet the roof of my mouth a few times per day/when I realize I was clenching. This prevents your teeth from touching and keeps the jaw forward. I made an effort to place my tongue there when falling asleep or would sleep with my mouth open. Little to no jaw pain/teeth grinding! After doing this consciously for a month or so, it became habitual and I haven't had any problems.

1
A35054c4279bcf6a236d8dbbd1cbe490

on July 03, 2012
at 05:40 PM

On a nutritional based forum the last thing you will want to hear is that the culprit is stress. Yoga, meditation and/or finding a way to relax worked. My grinding occurred during law school and while studying for the bar, undoubtedly the most stressful moments in my life. Good luck!

0
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on July 03, 2012
at 06:21 PM

Stress and/or anxiety often play a role too - and with my daughter it was the sole cause of teeth grinding.

She's in grad school so she can only lower stress to a degree... her program is stressful. Still, after diet, supplement, exercise and relaxation measures were taken, what ultimately helped her was taking PharmaGaba at bedtime. When she takes it, she doesn't grind.

http://www.thorne.com/Products/Mood-Sleep-Support/Mood_Enhancement/prd~SP652.jsp

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:37 PM

Was your daughter's iron status thoroughly assessed? A normal CBC and a ferritin test can be very misleading, so if those were the basis for diagnosis, I would be very skeptical. I don't know whether women are more likely to grind than men, but they're definitely more likely to be iron deficient. An iron deficiency is probably not the only cause of teeth grinding, but as it is the most common nutritional deficiency by a significant margin, is hard to properly diagnose, and is associated with attention deficits, hypertonias, and parasomnias, it is the most *likely* cause.

0
121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

on July 03, 2012
at 06:06 PM

I'm going to practice my clairvoyance skills. Tell me if I am wrong about any of this:

  • you're a female
  • you have recurrent tension and stiffness in neck and shoulders which seems to come and go
  • you have had trouble sleeping
  • you often have to get up in the night to pee
  • you are often very tired
  • the above have been a problem for years

I think it will eventually be shown that teeth-grinding is a result of iron deficiency. It's really a type of parasomnia (like sleep-walking and restless legs). Restless legs especially is known to be associated with iron deficiency or impaired iron metabolism.

I wrote an extensive answer to another, very similar question a month ago.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 03, 2012
at 09:42 PM

Interesting as I have all the "symptoms" you list, but I do not have iron deficiency. If anything, I have high levels of iron in my blood. My father also grinds/clenches his teeth and my stance has always been that this is somehow an inherited trait and it is how we relieve stress.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 03, 2012
at 11:05 PM

Also - I dont have to pee in the night - unless I have a drink before bed. I sleep like a log, almost always. I am not tired, as long as I take fish oil and magnesium. I do tend to have tension and stiffness in neck. Bad habit of tensing shoulders up and forward.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 03, 2012
at 06:24 PM

not always Stephen. This was not the case with my daughter at all, or my brother for that matter. I don't think woman are more prone to grinding than men are they? Also, I have a 42 yr old woman friend who has RLS and she was not iron deficient/impaired and what helped her was L-dopa!

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 03, 2012
at 08:36 PM

I too disagree with iron deficiency. I've never had that, yet I do tend to grind my teeth.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on July 03, 2012
at 10:35 PM

I'm a guy. I don't have pee that often at night. But everything else is right on. I also don't have an iron deficiency.

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on July 03, 2012
at 05:22 PM

Magnesium and K2. I think I was doing 5mg of K2 and something like 400mg of magnesium citrate.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 03, 2012
at 06:25 PM

This was not enough for my daughter...

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on July 03, 2012
at 10:36 PM

What type of k2?

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on July 05, 2012
at 02:03 PM

I was using the Carlsons 5mg. I was also using their cod liver oil, vitamin d3. The k2 seems to me to be what did it, but I appear to be the only one on this forum to experience my jaw relaxing at night (so much that I found out I was sleeping with my mouth open if I took it too close to bedtime), so perhaps it was something else, or the combination. This was accidental too, in that I was trying just to reduce my chances for any more cavities. I have no idea why my jaw muscles responded in this way.

0
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 03, 2012
at 05:17 PM

I think poor sleep due to insufficient oxygen intake can contribute to bruxism. I still grind my teeth occasionally (and I wear a night guard), but I find that my teeth and jaws are sore when I wake up from nights in which I tossed and turned. I'd try wearing some Breathe Right nose strips (the extra ones--they're stiffer and work better, IMO).

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