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5 ways to stop teeth grinding and jaw strain

Clenching your teeth is a natural response to stress. But when that clenching turns into fully grown teeth (a condition known as bruxism) it can literally turn into real pain.

Grinding your teeth can cause a headache, earache, or jaw pain. It affects all muscles related to chewing. If you’ve ever woken up with your teeth sliding against each other (or your SO woke you up by asking, “What is that noise?”), That is “Grinding”.

It can be subtle or it can create a lot of tension in your jaw, like your jaw is clenched over and over again (because it is!).

All signs of teeth grinding:

  • a headache
  • Earache
  • Stiffness or pain in the jaw
  • bad sleep
  • worn or broken teeth

Bruxism often worsens at night because you are not aware enough to notice and stop the behavior. If you often wake up feeling lightheaded and painful in your head or jaw, bruxism may be the culprit.

Since grinding teeth is often associated with stress or anxiety, there is no quick fix – but stress management techniques, along with certain tools, can help make it fully manageable.

The best way to prevent worn teeth is wearing a professional mouthguard, treatment for teeth grinding. Custom mouthguards provide a physical barrier to protect your teeth and provide relief from symptoms such as headaches and jaw pain.

Protecting your pearly babies this way can be costly as these devices are often uninsured. It can cost anywhere from $ 200 to $ 1,000 to manufacture.

You will need to go to your dentist to get impressions of your upper and lower teeth and then come back to make sure the mouthguard fits and is comfortable. Sometimes adjustments are required to get the right fit.

It is important that you wear your face mask every night!

Repairing broken teeth (and all of the stress that has built up) can be more expensive than a mouthguard. If you or your dentist has noticed that bruxism is affecting your teeth, follow their advice. Wearing a face mask can be a little awkward at first, but you will get used to it – and the peaceful sleep is well worth it.

General mask care

Rinse out your mouthguard every morning and gently brush it with a small amount of toothpaste. Occasionally soak it in vinegar to remove any buildup. Do not rinse it out with hot water or it may melt.

Keep your mouthguard in a clean container. Ideally, to prevent bacterial growth, the container should be vented or the mouthguard completely dry before placing it in the container. Do not keep it in a warm place.

However, professional equipment may not be included in your budget. So we looked at some over-the-counter solutions as well. These are a little less effective as they aren’t exactly tailored to your teeth, but semi-custom options are available much better than nothing.

Oral-B Nighttime Dental Guard

Rating: 3.7 / 5
Ratings: 505
Get it through Amazon.

This mouthguard is microwaveable and flavored with Scope mint mouthwash for a semi-custom fit. It comes with a storage case.

Plackers no longer grind disposable mouthguards

Rating: 3.9 / 5
Ratings: 2385
Get it through Amazon.

These disposable mouthguards are supplied in a pack of 10, each of which is suitable for up to 30 uses.

Dental Duty Professional Dental Guard

Rating: 3.5 / 5
Ratings: 5404
Get it through Amazon.

Dental Duty mouthguards can be semi-made by cooking beforehand and are suitable for both night and day use.

These exercises can help relax your jaw muscles and relieve tension. Try them at home before bed and then gently massage your jaw at the end.

  • Open your mouth as wide as you can and touch your front teeth with your tongue.
  • Open and close your jaw completely 10 times, then open your mouth and move your jaw from side to side 10 times.
  • Say the letter “N” out loud. This prevents clenching by preventing the upper and lower teeth from touching.

Recent studies, including one in 2018 and one in 2017, have shown that Botox injections can help relieve symptoms of teeth grinding in some people. While more research is definitely needed, this treatment could show promise as the effects appear to last for several months.


Yes, hypnosis! More research is needed before we can say for sure it works, but hypnosis has worked well in some people with bruxism.

In a case study from 2013, the subject’s teeth grinding disappeared after seven hypnotherapy sessions. And when the researcher checked in with the subject a year later, the grinding hadn’t returned.


Knocking is also known as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This therapeutic technique involves tapping specific acupressure points throughout the body, much like acupuncture without needles. It is often used to relieve anxiety.

In addition to wearing a face mask, you can incorporate these prevention methods into your daily routine for a more holistic approach to tackling bruxism.

From stress

Try one or more of these stress management techniques that can help reduce tension in the jaw:

  • Read before bed. Try to escape into a book to distract yourself from the day’s bedtime worries.
  • Practice gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful anti-anxiety remedy, and a daily gratitude journal is a good place to start.
  • Develop a Yoga Practice. Yoga is a time-honored, reliable technique for reducing stress (and it’s good for your physical health).
  • Try a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets use “pressure therapy” to lower your heart rate and calm your body, resulting in a more peaceful sleep.

Limit substance use

Substances like tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, and nonprescription drugs (like cocaine and ecstasy) have been linked to bruxism, so limiting your use of these substances during the day can be helpful.

Avoid chewing nails and chewing gum

Chewing gum or biting your nails, lips, or cheeks can make your jaw a habit of clenching. Retrain your jaw by avoiding these activities during the day.

Sleep better

Pillows and natural remedies can help you start a relaxing routine before bed. Here are some products that are known to help relieve sleep stress.

Natural remedies

While there is little conclusive evidence of the effectiveness of home remedies for bruxism, some natural products are believed to help with teeth grinding. They can help your muscles relax, promote better quality sleep, and much more.

MARNUR Cervical Pillow Contour Memory Foam Orthopedic Pillow

Rating: 4/5
Ratings: 966
Get it through Amazon.

Some pillows can help relieve jaw pain in conditions such as sleep bruxism and TMJ disorders. While the pillow looks a bit unusual, some people with bruxism report great results from using it.

NOW Magnesium Caps

Rating: 4.7 / 5
Reviews: 1215
Get it through Amazon.

Magnesium can help relax your muscle tissues, including those in your jaw that cause them to clench and crunch.

NOW Melatonin Supplement

Rating: 4.5 / 5
Reviews: 1530
Get it through Amazon.

Your body naturally produces melatonin when it is time to sleep. A melatonin supplement can help improve the quality of your sleep and help you fall asleep faster.

Pura D’Or lavender oil

Rating: 4.6 / 5
Ratings: 907
Get it through Amazon.

Lavender is a well-known aromatherapy sleep aid. Add it to an essential oil diffuser or combine a few drops with a carrier oil (like olive oil or jojoba oil) and massage into your jaw or temples. (The carrier oil is important – never apply an essential oil to your skin without diluting it.)

IMAK Compression Pain Relief Mask and eye pillow

Rating: 4.4 / 5
Ratings: 4,451
Get it through Amazon.

This weighted eye mask blocks light completely, putting your brain into sleep mode while calming your face.

Nobody knows exactly what causes the teeth grinding. But it is often related to factors like:

  • Stress and / or anxiety
  • Certain medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of antidepressant
  • Jaw shape / structure (e.g. if your upper and lower teeth do not meet evenly)
  • Use of substances such as alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and nonprescription drugs
  • Snoring or sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, which interrupts your breathing while you sleep

In some cases, an over-the-counter face mask may help, but problems such as jaw shape / structure require professional treatment.

If you notice chipped teeth, broken fillings, constant jaw pain, or frequent headaches, call your dentist to make an appointment. They can help you relieve the pain and develop a long-term plan to manage the symptoms.

Kim Wong-Shing is a New Orleans writer. Her work spans beauty, wellness, relationships, pop culture, identity, and other topics. Their website is kimwongshing.com.

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