Bruxism or gnashing of teeth

Bruxism is the grinding of teeth by rubbing the jaws together.
Many children have the habit of rubbing their teeth together during the night. This can lead to jaw pain.
Not only children, but also adults grit their teeth when they are angry or stressed.

Children may develop the habit of grinding their teeth unconsciously.
The partner notices bruxism, because he hears the noise at night. If the crunch is only slight, it can often not be perceived.
The dental branch that studies the problems of chewing is gnathology and the specialist to whom one turns is the gnathologist.


Causes of bruxism or teeth grinding

Causes of bruxism are:

When a person is under stress, their sleep may be disrupted. The person concerned could grind his teeth unconsciously and repeatedly.
Anxiety, tension and emotional stress can also be triggering factors for bruxism.
People who suppress anger and frustration often show signs of this disease throughout the day.
These people do not live out their anger and grind their teeth because of the pent-up frustrations.

Aggressive personality
Highly competitive or aggressive people in the workplace tend to grind their teeth and clench their fists. This behavior is especially pronounced when these people are angry or frustrated.

A malposition of the upper and lower teeth could cause this disease.
If the end of the teeth is not correct, the upper teeth are automatically pressed against the lower teeth in order to adjust them accordingly.

The sleep disorders are diverse:

  • Snore
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Talking in your sleep
  • Hypnagogic paralysis
  • Hypnagogue hallucinations
  • Violent behavior during sleep

People with these disorders may suffer from bruxism.
Those affected may mumble or grind their teeth during the stages of apnea.

The disease may depend on the use of the following active substances:

  • psychoactive substances,
  • Tobacco
  • anxiolytic drugs.

Underlying disease
There are many disorders and diseases that cause bruxism. These diseases include Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. The diseases are associated with teeth grinding during the day and at night.
Some causes of childhood bruxism are mentioned in the following list:

  • malposition of the teeth (during the change of teeth after the primary dentition),
  • pain (caries),
  • Stress
  • psychological problems (for example, anger suppression after abuse).

The following risk factors may favor the occurrence of bruxism:

  • improper intake of medications that cause seizures;
  • an allergic reaction can lead to jaw occlusion,
  • brain lesions,
  • congenital jaw malformation,
  • mental disorders such as anxiety,
  • increased blood alcohol levels,
  • excessive consumption of amphetamines,
  • worms (oxyurs) and intestinal parasites (cause irritability),
  • Trauma (a car accident can lead to whiplash).

Causes of nocturnal bruxism in children:

  • jaw growth,
  • malocclusion,
  • poorly executed crowns and fillings,
  • problems of the temporomandibular joint,
  • Stress
  • inadequate calcium levels.

Symptoms of bruxism and effects on the body

Bruxism is difficult to avoid, because it often occurs during sleep. Teeth grinding causes tension on muscles, tissues and other structures in the jaw area. This causes diseases of the temporomandibular joints. Some people do not feel any pain, even if they grind their teeth regularly in their sleep.
Mild bruxism is not a problem.
Many people are unaware that bruxism leads to the following symptoms and consequences:

  • Sore muscles or pain in the area of the lower jaw, upper jaw, cheekbones and temples,
  • Fear
  • Stress
  • insomnia (sleep disorders),
  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • headache (migraine),
  • Muscle pain in the neck. In this case, there may also be dizziness or drowsiness in the head, caused by contractures at the highly cervical level,
  • back pain in the upper area (dorsal),
  • internal cheek injuries,
  • deformity of the tongue,
  • severe facial pain,
  • hypersensitivity on the teeth to heat, cold or sweets,
  • worn teeth,
  • Toothache
  • tooth loss,
  • inflamed and swollen gums,
  • cheek swelling,
  • ringing in the ears or tinnitus,
  • pain in one ear (the temporomandibular joints are located near the ear canal),
  • feeling of blocked ears,
  • Hearing
  • enlarged cervical lymph nodes (due to excessive loads on the neck muscles).

Other symptoms that vary due to the following factors:

  • Stress
  • posture during sleep,
  • Nutrition
  • correct tooth position,
  • duration of bruxism,
  • Muscle contractures of the masticatory muscles and neck muscles (front and back of the neck).

Patients feel morning fatigue due to constant teeth grinding during the night.
One of the symptoms of bruxism persists throughout the day, from the morning onwards: the person feels muscle pain in the face and jaw area.
These complaints can also radiate and the person feels pain in other areas of the face. Man can suffer from severe headaches in the morning.

Other symptoms
Other symptoms include those that are either a direct or indirect result of teeth grinding.
Involuntary closing of the rows of teeth can lead to damage to the structures in the oral cavity.
Biting your cheeks can cause injury to the inner surface of your mouth.

What to do? Therapy against teeth grinding

Many children do not need treatment. If they suffer from moderate or pronounced bruxism, it is recommended to consult the dentist.

If the malocclusion is a problem, the tooth position must be corrected.
The pain can lead to difficulty chewing.
Dentists implant a crown to reshape the chewing surface of the tooth. This treatment does not solve the real problem of bruxism.
Osteopathy can help solve the chewing problem caused by a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (articulatio temporomandibularis).

Meditation exercises and a warm bath before bed help reduce stress and stress is one of the causes of bruxism. Relaxation exercises support stress management.

Specialists recommend speech therapy to treat this “bad habit”. The speech therapist recommends physiotherapy exercises and postures to bring the jaws into a correct position to the mouth and avoid teeth grinding.
A common exercise is to press your tongue against the palate, keeping your teeth apart and closing your lips.

Pharmacological therapy for relaxation in children is not recommended because of the side effects and possible dependence.
Dietary supplement. Eat foods rich in vitamin B, calcium and magnesium. Chewing calcium tablets before bed reduces involuntary muscle contractions of the jaw.
It is recommended to take multivitamin supplements daily, after first consulting the doctor which vitamins can be helpful.

Dental protection
The use of a dental guard does not treat the condition, but helps to prevent tooth damage.
The dentist checks the proper functioning of the dental protection.
He must ensure that the dental splint is adapted to the patient’s mouth.
There are currently different types of tooth guards available on the market: a bite splint called NTI-tss is inserted into the upper dental arch and protects both arches.
A tooth guard helps to change the orientation of the teeth.
This aid is made of acrylic and adapts to both rows of teeth. The tooth guard is expensive, but is the best solution.

Injections and operations
In some severe cases, injections are recommended to treat bruxism. Injections lead to muscle relaxation to avoid teeth grinding. Care must be taken not to relax the muscles too much, so that the jaw and chewing movements are not excessively impaired.

If deformation of the jaw is the main cause of bruxism, the patient must undergo orthodontic correction by braces.

Eventually, surgical intervention may be required to solve the problem. In some patients, the use of a bite splint helps against the constant gnashing of teeth. Surgical surgery must be considered a last resort.

Modern dental protection: The patient can use a device to monitor the electromyographic activity (EMG) of the temporal muscle. The device records muscle contractions and transmits electrical stimulation (CES) to the receptors in the skin.
CES is responsible for the inhibitory reflex of the brainstem: it relaxes the jaw muscles and reflexively blocks the closure of the jaw.

Natural remedies for bruxism during the night

Most children recover spontaneously by adolescence.
In order to curb bruxism, the causes of the problems must be addressed.
In the following, some suggestions are made that may be useful for curing this disease.

Heat application: This method is effective for relaxing the jaw muscles, especially in children. Before going to bed, place a hot and humid cloth on both cheeks for ten minutes. The heat has a calming effect on the cheek muscles. A warm bath before bed helps for the same reasons.

Pine massage: Mix a teaspoon of almond oil with a few drops of lavender extract. Use this oil mixture for massage. Relaxation in this area prevents teeth grinding.

Splint for the mouth: Parents can present their child to an odontologist to receive a tailor-made apparatus that reduces symptoms. It is worn at night to prevent teeth grinding and injuries in the mouth. The rail is very expensive.

Stress relief: Stress is one of the main causes of bruxism. Stress treatment and cognitive behavioral therapy have proven very effective in this context. Meditation and regular exercises are good for relaxing the body and mind

Natural types of treatment include some sessions of acupuncture, which serve to relax.

Natural remedies that promote relaxation and sleep include:

  • Melatonin
  • Melissa
  • Valerian
  • Camomile.

Household remedies

Natural methods are used in combination with dental prescriptions.
Eating fruit before bed is a good exercise for the mouth and decreases episodes of bruxism during sleep. Alternatively, chewing gum can be chewed.
You can put a warm cloth on your face before bedtime. The cloth helps to relax the jaw muscles.
A hot bath and massage can also relax the mind and body and thus relieve teeth grinding.
People suffering from bruxism should sleep on their backs, because the symptoms worsen when lying on their side.
You can drink a cup of herbal tea without sugar before bed.

Read more: