I was asked today about nighttime teeth grinding. As an individual that has had this problem on and off for as long as I can remember, I find that it pops up usually during stressful times in my life.
I am sure that most people have this problem and actually are not sure what to attribute it to. There are quite a few symptoms, but the most common seem to be awaking in the morning with a headache, or jaw pain, almost like you had been chewing gum all night long. Sometimes you can actually have a cracking in the jaw, or what almost seems to be a cramping in your jaw area. Some people get bleeding gums from it, loosening of the teeth and sores at the gum line. For most people it is a infrequent problem that usually fixes it self after the stressful time moves on. For others it can go on for weeks, months and even years, and the long term damage can be devastating to the bone in the jaw, and the permanent damage to the teeth as they are actually ground down closer to the gum line.
There are a few things that really do help this problem starting with supplementation that can be taken on a a daily basis at night. If you are or have been a bruxer, or teeth grinder try taking extra Calcium and Magnesium at night to relax the muscles while you sleep, this alone is a huge step to controlling the problem. If your sleep is at the least not very good, you can also take Valarian Root, or Kava or Melatonin. Sometimes what a teeth grinder needs is a way to shut down and relax and get into a deeper sleep, hopefully so they can get a better nights rest and stop reliving their stress while they sleep. Also, managing your daytime stress by meditating, exercising or doing some activity that allows you to chill out will help too. Also, take extra B Complex for daytime energy and added stress relief.
I have also had individuals that use small massage machines on their jaw muscles before they go to sleep to relax those already tight muscles. This preventive measure may help quite a bit.
This is a common problem that many people do not figure out until their dentist tells them about all of the problems they already have and those coming up down the road.
One thing to do is find a Dentist that knows about teeth grinding or TMJ, and have them fit you with a night guard, this helps the teeth glide back and forth and prevent enamel and tooth loss due to gritting during the night.
Although common, many people find great relief with just a few of the above tips, I wish you luck if you are also plagued with this problem as I am.