6

votes

How can I stop grinding my teeth?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 14, 2011 at 5:13 PM

I've had this problem for a few years, my old dentist used to comment a lot on how worn down my teeth looked for someone my age. But in the past two months or so it seems to be getting worse. It sounds stupid but I know because I used to bite my nails a lot and now I'm no longer actually able to do it easily, because of the increasing gap between most of my upper and lower front teeth as they get more worn down. It's really obvious that my bite is changing quickly which is sort of disconcerting to me.

I've been to the dentist in the past three months and everything is basically OK, no cavities, gums aren't receding or anything. I haven't had my wisdom teeth out yet but that will definitely happen sometime in the future, they're still coming in very slowly and there is no way there's room in my jaw for them. I actually used to have a bigger problem with grinding my teeth and TMJ (would wake up every morning with my jaw, ears and the side of my face absolutely killing me) but it was alleviated somewhat when I made an effort not to sleep on my stomach. Now my jaw doesn't hurt yet the wearing on my teeth is getting worse, not better.

Additional info: - I like to chew on ice (no, I'm not anemic) which I know is terrible for your teeth, but I've been doing that since I was very young so why would it start causing so many problems now?

-I had a lot of orthodontic work done to correct the alignment of my teeth (including palate expansion) but since getting my braces off 5 years ago I've been really bad about wearing a retainer (literally I couldn't keep it in my mouth, I would take it out every single night in my sleep) and I know my teeth are moving back to their original crowded spacing. Should I ask my dentist to make me one of those permanent retainers or something so they don't move even more? Is the increasing misalignment causing the bruxism?

Sooo...can anyone hack my teeth? Any dietary fix? Should I just give up and pay for an expensive mouthguard? I'd really like to correct this, I feel like I'm doing serious damage to my teeth and I'm only 18 years old.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on March 17, 2012
at 05:12 AM

Mg isn't the only thing though. Potassium is perhaps equally as important and few get enough. A poorly aligned bite can be the causative factor as well.

7c8e227dd8d5bdd77febfdebaa78dc13

(185)

on March 16, 2012
at 10:07 PM

is your retainer a clear plastic that fits over your teeth? I had braces and the retainer they gave me also works as a mouth guard since it covers the top half of my teeth. No need to buy a new one. If you take the retainer out of your mouth in your sleep just put it back in till you break yourself of that habit. At first I could never sleep with it in my mouth but now after years of wearing it I can't go to bed without it.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on March 16, 2012
at 01:49 PM

I supp with magnesium and have noticed no reduction in my grinding/clenching. And you can't do the tongue trick when you're sleeping!

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on July 18, 2011
at 04:32 PM

thanks, I'll check those things out.

91d422b073139d35e0856967ba1c21d6

(1054)

on July 18, 2011
at 04:29 PM

My health insurance, not dental insurance, covered my nightguard. Went to head/neck specialist, diagnosed with TMJ, referral to an orthodontist who made guard. Whole thing was covered by health insurance. I have Kaiser, if that matters, but the ortho was independent.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on July 16, 2011
at 01:30 PM

Almost always it's magnesium. Calcium contracts, magnesium relaxes.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on July 16, 2011
at 01:29 PM

@Senneth, she really needs to stop - even with the small "hospital" ice as I call it. Former ice addict speaking:) @Olivia, I suspect that any number of mineral deficiencies can trigger non-food cravings - not just iron deficiency. Zinc and magnesium may also be issues.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on July 15, 2011
at 01:27 PM

I know how bad it is and I've managed to cut way down on it... I don't suppose there are any other deficiencies besides iron that can cause a strong craving for ice, are there?

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on July 15, 2011
at 10:34 AM

True. Ravers have been using magnesium to reduce the grind caused by MDMA for a long time.

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 15, 2011
at 09:12 AM

My dentist also told me to just buy a guard at Walgreens. They're really no different than the expensive ones.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 14, 2011
at 10:56 PM

I just bought one of the flexible Doctor's Night Guard and did a good job of fitting it to my teeth. It stays in, doesn't hurt my teeth like the hard acrylic one does, and I can tell that it won't want to make me clench my teeth when I wear it. Biggest plus: I can fully close my lips together! Much easier to swallow my own spit too.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on July 14, 2011
at 10:04 PM

I can afford a custom guard if totally necessary, because I think my insurance will cover most of it. The reason I asked is because a lot of people (IRL) told me it was a waste and I should just get a cheap drugstore one because they work the same.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:05 PM

Yea I am just a bit cheap and I end up losing many of my mouth items so this is the best option for me personally. My dentist said with my health insurance the mouth guard is about $200

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:01 PM

btw, one major plus with the custom made mouth guard is that it will also function as a retainer.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:59 PM

Having a night guard made my TMJ so much worse. Instead of just grinding, I also started to clench my jaw. (Like I was holding it in place by clenching, even though it stayed in place on its own). That is when my problems really started to escalate. What has help me was being aware of jaw clenching during the day and a conscientious effort to relax it, which helps during those unconscience times, not chewing ice, and getting jaw/head/neck massages regularly.

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:57 PM

if you absolutely cannot afford a custom made one from your dentist, go with Jake's suggestion. I saw my dentist last week, and she recommended that I do this since my current mouth guard is 15 years old (!) and my insurance sadly won't cover it. The real deal goes for about $600.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:56 PM

I agree with the ice comment! If you must do it, get the really tiny ice and let is get a bit mushy.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:37 PM

if your dentist can 'trim' it down you should be able to use it. sounds like he/she didn't fit it propery.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:59 PM

I recently got one of those too and I'm not too thrilled with it. I can't close my mouth at night, which would help keep my jaw where it was supposed to be instead of sliding too far backwards. It's the hard acrylic kind and I can't get a refund for it, but I don't think I'm as heavy a bruxer as I was when I was younger pre-braces. The braces helped to correct my bite (still not perfect though), but I do catch myself clenching my teeth together during the day quite a lot. It almost feels good in a masochistic way lol. I think I clench more than I brux. I also have small tori on my lower jaw.

  • 7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

    asked by

    (7540)
  • Views
    19.1K
  • Last Activity
    1426D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

14 Answers

best answer

4
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Speaking from my personal experiences, when I was younger I was a grinder, even broke a tooth completely in half, all the rest have fractures literally everywhere, waiting for them to one day just crumble!

Go and get yourself a guard made, one that you can not grind down (they are pricy if they are the good ones). I use to grind them down but one of the last ones I got was so strong I couldnt make a dent in it (sorry it was years ago). Your dentist should be able to do this, I'm surprized they haven't recommended it??? Most insurance plans pay for one every 2 years.

Any retainer you get will likely only be on the bottom if its permanent, I haven't ever seen one on the top. But you should also be wearing these to keep your bite in place, I finally stopped wearing mine about 10 years after braces removed.

The bite guard will also help keep the top from moving, this is simply a night time retainer..its thick and hard to talk with so don't wear it out.

One trick to release the tension in your jaw is to put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. It some how relaxes those muscles....You can also try and fall asleep doing that until you get your guard.

A broken tooth is probably a 2500+ repair (crown), and a bit guard might be just a co-payment, so its the best of the worse!!

good luck!!

3
22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:10 PM

I just want to throw out a "no" to the mouthguard idea. I had an "expensive mouthguard" made by my dentist and when I would use it, it wouldn't make me not grind my teeth, it would just make my jaw work even harder trying to grind my teeth together and I got TMJ symptoms from wearing the mouthguard. My girlfriend at the time hated my teeth grinding so I tried really hard to do things to make me not grind my teeth and tried the mouthguard more than I should have but it never did me any good.

I no longer grind my teeth, but I don't really know why. I'm 26 now and I stopped some time between 23 and 25. My stress had gone down/happiness level had gone up. I'm pretty sure I stopped while still eating a CAD, so I don't think it's going to be diet related unless your diet is causing your body a lot of stress. It's really hard for me to even postulate a reason why I stopped because I'm always just getting better at life, being healthier and happier. Honestly, I have no idea why I ever did it. My theories would include chewing gum too much, stress, caloric imbalance (eating too much and/or not exercising enough). And when I say stress I mean living in a situation that you're not entirely happy with, whether it be your job, your home, your significant other or close friends. But hey, no one really knows what the deal is with bruxism, do they?

3
Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

on July 14, 2011
at 05:36 PM

The ice chewing isn't causing problems now, it's been causing problems for years, said problems are just starting to become apparent along with the additional problems caused by the bruxism and nail biting.

Seriously, you need to stop chewing on anything but food, shell out for the mouthgard, and start working on getting sufficient magnesium, zinc, vitamin d, a and k to work on optimal tooth and bone strength and structure.

Fwiw, the magnesium can be very helpful in reducing the tendency towards bruxism.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:56 PM

I agree with the ice comment! If you must do it, get the really tiny ice and let is get a bit mushy.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on July 16, 2011
at 01:29 PM

@Senneth, she really needs to stop - even with the small "hospital" ice as I call it. Former ice addict speaking:) @Olivia, I suspect that any number of mineral deficiencies can trigger non-food cravings - not just iron deficiency. Zinc and magnesium may also be issues.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on July 15, 2011
at 01:27 PM

I know how bad it is and I've managed to cut way down on it... I don't suppose there are any other deficiencies besides iron that can cause a strong craving for ice, are there?

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on July 18, 2011
at 04:32 PM

thanks, I'll check those things out.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on March 16, 2012
at 01:49 PM

I supp with magnesium and have noticed no reduction in my grinding/clenching. And you can't do the tongue trick when you're sleeping!

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on March 17, 2012
at 05:12 AM

Mg isn't the only thing though. Potassium is perhaps equally as important and few get enough. A poorly aligned bite can be the causative factor as well.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 14, 2011
at 07:17 PM

I find that some things work for me.

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Mg supplementation or mg rich meal before bed
  • going to bed at a decent hour
  • better posture

I've reduced it so much that the BF says he only hears me doing it occasionally when I am stressed. I also got a mouthguard made, but like Dylan it only made the TMJ-ish symptoms worse.

1
Medium avatar

(7073)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:09 PM

You need to get some magnesium oil and rub it into your shoulders, the problem starts there. I have the same problem and my holistic dentist told me that guards are not addressing the real problem (although they can help in the short term) and can actually mask the root of the problem so it can escalate unchecked.

Never sleep on your stomach, as this causes the neck muscles to trap and tighten every single night, which means you will be fighting an uphill battle during the day to relax them, instead, use a proper orthopaedic pillow and sleep on your back or side, so your head and spine remain totally in line Ester Gokhale has a great method for achieving this alignment in bed and during the day.

Magnesium relaxes muscles and I was deficient in this mineral causing a general tightening of muscles in my neck and jaw. You can take supplements, but the mag oil is the best as you can use it directly on your neck every day. Just read the instructions on the bottle.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on July 15, 2011
at 10:34 AM

True. Ravers have been using magnesium to reduce the grind caused by MDMA for a long time.

1
49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa

(840)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:42 PM

One of the most common causes of teeth-grinding and nail-biting is stress. Do your best to decrease your levels of stress.

1
Medium avatar

(12379)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:47 PM

I have one of the expensive mouthguard my dentist made for me - and I can't sleep with it - I gag. What I had to do in order to stop grinding was work on stress reduction before bed-time. I still grind if I'm having a stressful day - but most of the time I can see it coming now and I do some relaxation techniques before going to bed.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:37 PM

if your dentist can 'trim' it down you should be able to use it. sounds like he/she didn't fit it propery.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:59 PM

Having a night guard made my TMJ so much worse. Instead of just grinding, I also started to clench my jaw. (Like I was holding it in place by clenching, even though it stayed in place on its own). That is when my problems really started to escalate. What has help me was being aware of jaw clenching during the day and a conscientious effort to relax it, which helps during those unconscience times, not chewing ice, and getting jaw/head/neck massages regularly.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 14, 2011
at 10:56 PM

I just bought one of the flexible Doctor's Night Guard and did a good job of fitting it to my teeth. It stays in, doesn't hurt my teeth like the hard acrylic one does, and I can tell that it won't want to make me clench my teeth when I wear it. Biggest plus: I can fully close my lips together! Much easier to swallow my own spit too.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:59 PM

I recently got one of those too and I'm not too thrilled with it. I can't close my mouth at night, which would help keep my jaw where it was supposed to be instead of sliding too far backwards. It's the hard acrylic kind and I can't get a refund for it, but I don't think I'm as heavy a bruxer as I was when I was younger pre-braces. The braces helped to correct my bite (still not perfect though), but I do catch myself clenching my teeth together during the day quite a lot. It almost feels good in a masochistic way lol. I think I clench more than I brux. I also have small tori on my lower jaw.

1
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:36 PM

I grind my teeth too because my orthondontist did a shoddy job. You can get a mouth guard at CVS or any drugstore for like 30 dollars. They last a long time as long as you get one of the ones with hard plastic/soft plastic combo. If it's totally soft plastic you'll chew right through it.

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:01 PM

btw, one major plus with the custom made mouth guard is that it will also function as a retainer.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on July 14, 2011
at 10:04 PM

I can afford a custom guard if totally necessary, because I think my insurance will cover most of it. The reason I asked is because a lot of people (IRL) told me it was a waste and I should just get a cheap drugstore one because they work the same.

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on July 14, 2011
at 06:57 PM

if you absolutely cannot afford a custom made one from your dentist, go with Jake's suggestion. I saw my dentist last week, and she recommended that I do this since my current mouth guard is 15 years old (!) and my insurance sadly won't cover it. The real deal goes for about $600.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on July 14, 2011
at 07:05 PM

Yea I am just a bit cheap and I end up losing many of my mouth items so this is the best option for me personally. My dentist said with my health insurance the mouth guard is about $200

8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

(1724)

on July 15, 2011
at 09:12 AM

My dentist also told me to just buy a guard at Walgreens. They're really no different than the expensive ones.

91d422b073139d35e0856967ba1c21d6

(1054)

on July 18, 2011
at 04:29 PM

My health insurance, not dental insurance, covered my nightguard. Went to head/neck specialist, diagnosed with TMJ, referral to an orthodontist who made guard. Whole thing was covered by health insurance. I have Kaiser, if that matters, but the ortho was independent.

0
8e086be101fb02fd562e8ffe06bbbb6b

on September 04, 2013
at 06:12 PM

Also you can check out this night guard FAQ page that has a lot of commonly asked questions and accurate answers-http://sentinelmouthguards.com/about-night-guards/

Hope this helps!

0
8e086be101fb02fd562e8ffe06bbbb6b

on September 04, 2013
at 06:10 PM

The magnesium as someone above suggested actually does work to a certain extent. You should know there is no known "sure" cure. You can incorporate all of the above but make sure you're wearing a night guard to prevent any further damage! Here's a link to a good article about custom fit night guards http://asmi234.tumblr.com/post/55691052528/i-want-to-save-money-by-ordering-a-custom-fit-night

0
7238877475c1e70693b91eed2b27a3b2

on June 29, 2013
at 03:31 AM

I am a dental professional and I see this all the time. First of all chewing ice and smoking are one of the two worse things you can do to your teeth. Chewing ice even though you may have done that for years causes fractures and tiny cracks in your enamel. With the temperature changes from cold and hot in the mouth the drastic shift over years can end up chipping and breaking teeth leading to needing a crown and possibly a root canal if its too close to the nerve. Every patient is different so you might be in your early to late 20's before before any kind of effects can start to take place from this if you've done it your whole life as well if you have weak or strong teeth.

What most orthodontic patients may not realize or remember what your orthodontist tells you, you need to wear it for a few years, you really should wear your retainer for the rest of your life. It's just as important as your orthodontic treatment was and the retainer is to stop the chance of any relapse because teeth have a memory slot. And when no retention to hold the teeth in place all the years of hard earned money spent and hard work in the braces become pointless because the teeth shift right back to where they remember. Once teeth start to shift into an unhealthy state the bite can be off and lead to more grinding and clenching. When teeth aren't in a proper bite unneeded pressure on certain teeth can cause your body to search for a correct bite causing you to want to grind more. TMJ issues can also play a factor in the clenching aspect. If you can get a permanent lingual retainer which is the metal fixed bar that is placed on the inside of your bottom teeth, are HIGHLY recommended. Do you need to keep it for life? No you can get it removed years down the road but its a great option for patients who might feel they will be bad about wearing a retainer.

If you can't afford to go through braces again get a mouth guard! I recommend to all my patients who have increasing wearing on their teeth either Invisalign to fix there bite or a mouth guard. It's very important that you don't purchase the ones from Walgreens or CVS. The over the counter ones are just what they are for a reason CHEAP! Reason being is those ones use a material that your body does not collaborate with causing you to want to grind more chewing right through thse things. The ones you melt to your own mouth can cause tmj issues even though they can protect your teeth from wearing. The night guards I get are from a company called Glidewell. I custom fit it for the lower jaw only cause it alleviates pressure on the TMJ better then if it was for the top. The soft gel like martial on the inside protects your teeth from wearing on your teeth and the hard outside material protects your jaw joints. If you purchase a night guard from a dental professional and its not fitting right go to you dental provider for adjustments to make it fit right. Also, if it feels bulky and uncomfortable at first you need to let your body give it a chance before you give up using it thinking you wasted your money. Give it 7 nights before you think of going back to your dentist for an adjustment.

Without insurance a broken tooth to fix can be up to 3000 in my office. An expensive mouth guard is worth purchasing to save yourself that kind of trouble down the road. Without insurance I charge 475$ for a custom fix guard. Too get one that is worth it and make sure your getting the proper dental care do research on your dentist to make sure they have good reviews, recommendations from other patients and great qualifications.

0
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on March 16, 2012
at 01:43 PM

I have a mouth guard I used to have to replace it every few years. And have it rebuilt plastic wise every 6-12 months. My guard is on the upper teeth and has a clip so it stays on the teeth. I like the magnesium oil on upper trap idea. That sounds like it would feel good.

0
8502654e620f0e24a9be90ecb0d45e88

on July 15, 2011
at 05:38 PM

I'm a prolific grinder of teeth. As such, I wear both a plastic bite guard on the bottom teeth and an NTI guard on the top. The NTI is what really helped. Neither is cheap, but both are less expensive than a replaced tooth.

0
8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

on July 15, 2011
at 09:13 AM

Teeth grinding is also often a sign of the need for calcium (and/or magnesium perhaps?).

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on July 16, 2011
at 01:30 PM

Almost always it's magnesium. Calcium contracts, magnesium relaxes.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!