Vampires and bad dreams aren't the only enemies of the unwary sleeper. Teeth grinding while asleep is an annoying and possibly painful problem afflicting may people. There are a variety of reasons you may grind your teeth but, luckily, there are also a number of solutions to this nocturnal problem.
Sleep bruxism – the medical term for clenching and gnashing your teeth during the night – can lead to health problems if left unchecked. Here's how to stop it.
You Will Need
* Dentist or family doctor
* Stress reduction
* Limited alcohol and caffeine
* Mouth guard
* Side or stomach sleeping
* Smoking-cessation program (optional)
Step 1: Know the signs
Know the signs of sleep bruxism: Worn down, loose, or sensitive teeth; waking up with a headache or sore jaw; tongue indentations; and chewed-up patches on the inside of your cheeks. If you notice these, see your dentist. An abnormal bite and crooked teeth are sometimes the problems.
Step 2: Consider other sleep problems
Consider other sleep problems, like loud snoring interrupted by pauses that are followed by gasping for breath or choking. These are signs of a condition called sleep apnea, and many sufferers also grind their teeth. See a doctor if these symptoms apply to you.
Step 3: Reduce stress
If you – like many sufferers – believe your nocturnal gnashing is due to stress, take steps to reduce it: Work out more, meditate, or learn some deep breathing exercises.
Step 4: Watch your drinking
Watch your alcohol and caffeine intake. Too much of either has been linked to teeth grinding.
If you smoke, try to quit; smoking may increase your risk of developing sleep bruxism.
Step 5: Get a mouth guard
Try wearing a mouth guard at night. It won't prevent grinding, but it will protect your teeth.
Step 6: Sleep on your side
Sleep on your stomach or your side. Back sleeping may contribute to grinding. Sweet dreams!
Approximately 8 percent of U.S. adult