Suffering from bruxism is an annoyance and a pain both literally and figuratively. It can cause unwanted side effects, such as facial changes, jaw pain, and ultimately tooth loss. This article will cover the best types of mouthguards to look for when looking for products to combat grinding your teeth. Additionally, we will look at ways to stop grinding your teeth.

Look for the following in this article:

  • Best mouthguards and where to find them
  • Pain relief in the form of medication as well as home remedies
  • How to best combat grinding your teeth
  • What to do after you notice you have been grinding your teeth
Lady holding a mouthguard up to her smile
A mouthguard specific to bruxism is best to combat the problem. Photo courtesy of Fortino Dental.

Best mouthguards and where to find them

You may need to visit your dentist’s office to be fitted for the right size

The uses of mouthguards can be helpful, but in the case of bruxism, they are specific to separating your teeth at night to prevent you from grinding. The mouthguard will help keep your top and bottom teeth from connecting so they don’t damage each other from the pressure of grinding or clenching. A custom-fitted mouthguard is best, as it will fit your teeth with the most precision. A boil-and-bite mouthguard can be a better fit than stock mouthguards, which are hard to keep in place and therefore uncomfortable for sleeping. You can try out a boil-and-bite mouthguard for a few days and then see if you think you want a custom fit one.

Woman cringing and holding her hand up to her head
Bruxism can lead to terrible headaches. Combat this pain with mouthguards, medication, or home remedies such as hot compresses.

Pain relief in the form of medication as well as home remedies

Medication isn’t always the best approach, but it can relieve some of the pain

While it is best to get at the root cause of the problem and deal with the stress and anxiety that is most likely causing your bruxism, medication can be a way to deal with some of the pain. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend muscle relaxants to take before bedtime for a short period. Botox injections may help people with severe bruxism. Finally, medication for stress and anxiety can help with the overall problem of teeth grinding.

A home remedy that you can always fall back on is a hot compress. The moisture from a washcloth soaked in hot water penetrates the skin and can both help with pain as well as relax the jaw muscles.

Man sitting on the edge of a ead holding his head
If you are waking up with headaches in the morning, it may be because you have been grinding your teeth.

How to best combat grinding your teeth

A few tricks will help you notice the symptoms and help prevent them from continuing

If you find yourself suffering from side effects of grinding your teeth, including but not limited to jaw pain, toothaches, loose teeth, TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome), or trouble sleeping, it is likely that you have been grinding your teeth at night without realizing or during the day because of stress, anxiety, anger, frustration, or tension. It may also be a coping strategy, or something you do without realizing when you are in deep concentration. 

It is best to seek regular dental care because of these symptoms, but there are steps you can take to reduce the symptoms and even have them cease in problematic fashion. Some of these techniques can include ways to destress, including practicing daily exercise routines, meditation on a regular basis, journaling to divert your stress away from grinding your teeth, and organizing your day to day activities to help cease your stress. All of these techniques can lead to reducing the possibility of you grinding your teeth. 

In addition, it may be the after effects of grinding your teeth at night that leads you to many of the uncomfortable and possibly severe side effects. If you are unsure if you have been grinding your teeth at night, you can ask your partner if they have heard you grinding your teeth and if it has kept them awake at night. Then, you will better know whether or not you need to take steps to prevent the side effects from increasing or getting even worse to the point that you may lose teeth or have gum recession that needs surgery to be resolved.

Infographic of the causes of bruxism and what to do about it
Once you figure out what has been causing your teeth grinding, you can find ways to prevent it. Image courtesy of Lindenwoods Dental.

What to do after you notice you have been grinding your teeth

If you are grinding your teeth, you can try to stop in a few steps

If you’ve found out you’ve been grinding your teeth either through noticing side effects or by visiting your dentist and them telling you that they see signs of grinding, look to reduce your stress and anxiety to avoid the continuation of grinding. These include the ways we discussed in the last section of this article, but can also be a variety of other ways that you find preferable to you. You may have felt that journaling was a great way for you to relieve your stress in the past, so try it in this situation and it may help you reduce your grinding! There are many different techniques that may work, different for each individual.

After trying out a variety of de-stressing techniques, and this may only be specific to day time grinding which is often caused by stress, whereas nighttime grinding is often out of your control, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss options. Nighttime grinding may also be caused by daytime stress, but it is harder to tell specifically if you aren’t necessarily finding that you have been stressed out more than usual. Besides mouthguards and medications, you can use other ways to destress or change up your routine to see what may or may not work. This can include trying to drink calming tea at night, mouth exercises and stretches, as well as good oral hygiene.

Grinding your teeth is something that you do not want to have to deal with, but it may be out of your control and you are stuck with trying to figure out how to prevent it. With these tips and having these tools in your cabinet, you will be able to combat bruxism.