Tooth grinding is one of the most common dental issues which is experienced by athletes. Popularly known as bruxism, this is an unconscious action that leads to grinding of the teeth during sleep. Clenching of the jaw is also seen as a habit pattern of bruxism.
Often, teeth grinding may not have immediate damaging results in the mouth. However, over time, it can lead to severe attrition, temporomandibular joint disorder, and muscle spasm. Additionally, bruxism can also interfere with the individual’s sleep cycle, leading to mental disturbance and frustration.
Most patients with bruxism are usually not aware of their habit as it occurs when they are sleeping. However, some typical signs, such as facial muscle pain and lack of proper sleep, can indicate tooth grinding. While there are many treatment modalities for bruxism, home remedies have shown to have effective treatment for bruxism.
Today’s article will highlight the best home remedies to treat bruxism in athletes.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism, a.k.ateeth grinding, is one of the most damaging dental disorders that usually occurs during sleep when a person grinds or tightly clenches their teeth together. However, some people may also clench their teeth during anxiety or anger. (1)
Bruxism can have several damaging effects on the teeth and gums that persist for a long time. some of them include –
- pain and stiffness in the temporomandibular joint and surrounding muscles, which can lead to temporomandibular disorder
- facial pain
- disrupted sleep
- worn-down teeth, which can lead to increased sensitivity and even tooth loss
- broken teeth or fillings
What are the best home remedies to treat bruxism?
Several home remedies can help you from the misery of painful symptoms caused by bruxism. Moreover, these therapies will help to minimize the risk of tooth damage. Especially during this time, when most dental offices are closed due to the pandemic, you may follow the following remedies –
Warming up the jaw is one of the excellent ways to reduce jaw clenching or teeth grinding. It can be performed at home by using a heating pad or a hot towel. Lie down by resting one side of your face on the heating pad below for at least 15 minutes and then repeat on the other side. As the heating pad warms the jaw, it increases the blood supply in that area, improving circulation and relaxing the jaw muscles. Moreover, it helps to alleviate tension and reduce destructive grinding. (2)
Stress is one of the primary contributors to teeth grinding and jaw clenching habits. During a stressful period, the jaw muscles and muscles in the neck and upper back become tensed and stiff. Moreover, such tension in the muscle makes the person restless and can also contribute to insomnia. Therefore, it is essential to take up serious measures to reduce the stress levels in the body.
Stress management helps to improve tissue relaxation and reduce muscle spasm. Moreover, it is excellent for lowering bruxism or clenching of the jaws. Some of the best ways to manage stress include journaling your thoughts, meditation, relaxing baths with bath salts, regular yoga, and a quality exercise routine with a healthy diet.
Epsom salt baths
As mentioned earlier, a relaxing bath with bath salts is one of the most effective stress management techniques. Usually, this can be performed by using Epsom salts. Epsom salts typicallycontain detoxing elements that help to flush out toxins and heavy metals from the body. The detoxifying compounds are mostly made of magnesium and sulfate, which help to soften and exfoliate the skin. Moreover, they draw out impurities, and also aids in relieving cold or flu symptoms. (3)
Epsom salt baths also increase the magnesium intake in the body, which is essential to reduce bruxism. Additionally, the absorption of magnesium through the skin will bind with serotonin in the brain, leading to relaxation and alleviation of the stress, which happens by soothing the muscles and reducing tension.
Magnesium is popularly known for its beneficial effects on the muscles of the body and heart. Moreover, it is also an integral part of the relaxation of muscle tissue and blood vessels.
The topical application of magnesium sprays or lotions has proven to relax the sore muscle and relieve tension. Another source of magnesium can be through the consumption of magnesium-rich foods. Additionally, magnesium supplements can also be beneficial to reduce teeth grinding.
Jaw muscle massage
Usually, the masseter, temporalis, medial pterygoid, and lateral pterygoid are the principal muscles that help to open and close or move the side of the jaw to side. When these muscles become overly tight, they can aggravate the mouth and increase teeth grinding. Therefore, it is essential to relieving muscle tension by massaging them daily.
Some of the useful techniques for jaw muscle stretch and massage may include –
- try to open and close your jaw as much as you can for about ten repetitions.
- Open your mouth and move your jaw side to side for an additional ten repetitions.
- Take your hands along the side of your jaw at the uppermost area from your ears. Use your fingers to rub the area in a circular motion, mainly in the area where you find tight knots. (4)
- Move to the lower part of your jawline and repeat the same movement. Try to always press and hold at the areas with tight knots.
It might sound very unusual, but drinking a glass of turmeric milk before sleeping in the night is an excellent wayof restoring health. The unique mixture usually helps to control teeth grinding with a dual-purpose –
- the amino acid tryptophan in the turmeric milk helps to relax the nervous system. This aids in having an undisturbed sound sleep.
- Turmeric acts as a pain reliever to reduce jaw pain and headaches.
Take away message
Bruxism is one of the most painful and annoying habits one can develop due to several reasons. The practices usually include teeth grinding mostly during the night during sleep and clenching of the jaw. Although professional treatments may aid in relieving the muscle tension. Many home remedies have proven to be equally effective and economical.
Some of the home remedies to reduce teeth grinding and clenching of the jaws include dietary magnesium supplements, stress management, relaxing baths with Epsom salt, regular jaw exercises, and turmeric milk.
It is essential to take time to help yourself be proactive about taking proper measures to relax and enjoy the benefits of home remedies.