Teeth Grinding - Coping
Tooth grinding at night is occasionally linked with daytime stress. To ease symptoms, try to relax in the hours before bedtime to reduce stress levels and to maintain a regular soothing bedtime routine. It is also important to create a sleep environment that is cool comfortable, dark, and quiet and to keep work-related items such as computers out of the bedroom. Tooth grinding during sleep may also be linked with back sleeping. Try side or stomach sleeping to ease symptoms. Finally, be sure to get adequate sleep and general physical exercise on a regular basis. Sleep deprivation may increase stress and exacerbate tooth grinding.
If you or someone you are close to exhibits signs of bruxism it is important to address the symptoms and take action before permanent dental damage occurs. If possible, seek an expert in dental sleep medicine; otherwise, consult your dentist. For children, symptoms should also be discussed with a pediatrician. In addition to help from a dentist, adults may benefit by consulting a sleep specialist or those who can help teach stress reduction and relaxation techniques.
Reviewed by David G. Davila, MD (December 2009).