Grinding your teeth at night also called bruxism, is a common problem. It can lead to all kinds of nasty things like headaches, tooth or jaw pain, damaged teeth, and disrupted sleep. If you’re a tooth-grinder, then naturally you’ll want to stop. Luckily, this is a lot easier than you might think! The main reason for grinding is tension in your jaws, which can have a few different causes. You can get started releasing that tension right now!
Hold a warm, moist compress against your jaw before bed. Soak a towel or washcloth in warm water, wring it out, and hold it against both sides of your jaw for a few minutes. The warmth helps your muscles loosen and can reduce clenching at night.
- A dry compress will also work, but moist heat relaxes your muscles better.
- If you prefer, you can also take a warm bath or shower. This has a similar effect, and it also helps you relax before bed.
Relax your face and jaw during the day when you feel tense. It’s normal to clench your jaw and neck muscles if you’re stressed during the day. Unfortunately, this tenses your muscles and makes you grind at night. Make an effort to keep your jaw muscles loose and relaxed during the day. If you feel yourself getting stressed, remind yourself to unclench your jaw.
- It’s helpful to set a regular reminder, like every hour, to relax your jaw. This can help break your clenching habit.
Practice simple mouth exercises to stretch your jaw. A few exercises can stretch and relax your jaw muscles. This can cut down on your grinding at night. Try these 2 simple exercises each day:
- Close your lips and keep your teeth apart. Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, without touching your teeth, and hold it there for as long as you can. This exercise loosens your jaw muscles and can prevent you from clenching at night.
- Put your hands on your jaw joint, right in front of your ears. Slowly open your mouth and hold it open for 5-10 seconds before slowly closing it. Practice this for 10 minutes at a time, 3 times a day to stretch out your jaw.