Allergy, Immune, Stress | June 28, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is the involuntary action of clenching or grinding the teeth together. Excessive jaw clenching or teeth grinding occurs mainly at night and can be the result of stress, intestinal parasites, drug abuse, allergy amongst other things. Both males and females can suffer from this problem with females predominantely found to jaw clench in day times.
Teeth grinding can place stress on the structures of the mouth as well as wear on the teeth. Some sign someone is grinding their teeth can be the sound of grinding heard at night.
Problems caused from teeth grinding
Symptoms are usually felt upon waking
If you think you are suffering from bruxism it is important that you address the possible cause. A visit to your dentist for a tooth check and to repair any damage that has been caused by teeth grinding is important and often a first step.
Factors attributed to bruxism include misalignment of teeth, intestinal parasites (predominately helminths - parasitic worms), nutritional deficiencies, which may contribute to stress and anxiety or may be as a result of intestinal parasitic infection, drug misuse, allergies or endocrine issues.
Your dentist can check if there any problems with your teeth such as filings that are too high or jaw malalignment.
Mouth guards may be suggested to wear at night to protect your teeth from damage.
Mouth guards will not fix the cause but can help protect the teeth whilst the causative factors are addressed.
A study performed on children aged between 3 and 6 with confirmed bruxism found ‘A statistically significant relationship was observed between infection with pathogenic parasites and bruxism’ when these children were tested for parasitic infestation.
Intestinal parasites can release toxins through their various stages of development whilst they live in the body. These toxins can have an effect on nervous system, can contribute to insomnia and contribute to teeth grinding, along with causing fatigue and nutritional deficiencies. Enterobius vermicularis, (Pinworm), is a common parasite that reinfests easily, but can also be eradicated by over the counter medication. Support the digestive system with probiotics, garlic and oregano oil can be used. Combine these with extra fibre to aid elimination. In severe cases an anti-parasitic formula may be needed.
Calcium and magnesium deficiency may contribute to grinding teeth.
Studies have found people who grind their teeth have been found to have sub optimal levels of these minerals. Another study also found a correlation between burning month syndrome, teeth grinding and mineral deficiencies. There are ongoing balancing actions between calcium and magnesium for many processes throughout the body - especially muscle contractions. Calcium and magnesium are important for tooth repair, muscle actions and support the nervous system, a deficiency maybe associated with insomnia, stress and clenching teeth.
Studies have confirmed that stress and anxiety can cause bruxism along with other oral complaints often associated with anxiety (jaw clicks, difficulty chewing food, and dry mouth). Nutrients to help with stress include vitamin B complex - a water soluble vitamin that supports many functions of the body and is often depleted by stress. Supplement with magnesium to help support the body through stressful times. Magnesium can help relax the muscles, aid in sleep and support the nervous system. Try an Epsom salts bath (magnesium flakes) with some lavender essential oils in a bath before bed and a cup of chamomile or passionflower tea. If stress is acute herbal supplement may be needed.
Drug use, such as ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamine and methamphetamine, can cause teeth grinding and jaw clenching can occur. Stress and nutritional support and the help of your healthcare provider can give you the resources to beat addictions.
Teeth clenching has been found to be a symptom of food intolerance. People have reported improvement with the elimination or reduction of irritating foods. Amines, salicylates, preservatives, artificial colours and flavours are high among the culprits.
Pain from eruptions of new teeth in babies and children is the proposed cause of teeth grinding in babies and infants.
An evaluation of contributing causes is always a good start. Stress, anxiety, addiction and parasite infection can all also be associated with vitamin and mineral deficiency - meaning a multi-faceted approach may be needed if these conditions are apparent. Food intolerances can be hard to identify as they are usually associated with an over-load of certain chemicals which are found in a variety of foods. Seek the support of a naturopath, nutritionist or allergy specialist to identify possible culprits. It is easier to remove preservatives, colours and flavours from the diet by eating foods close to nature that have not been processed or interfered with. These foods will usually contain more vitamins and minerals too.
As Bruxism is predominantly a sleep issue it is important to address sleep hygiene methods.
This means having a good sleep pattern of going to bed at the same time (not too late) and getting a good 8 hours of sleep. Ensure the room is dark and quiet with no interfering electrical devices. Refrain from over-eating the evening meal and consuming foods that are stimulating such as spices and caffeine.
Enjoy relaxation techniques such as gentle exercise in the evening (walking, stretches, yoga and tai chi) and do the more stimulating exercise in the morning or before 4pm (beneficial for stress too). Finish the day with a warm shower or relaxing bath before bed and some chamomile tea.
The Correlation between Intestinal Parasitic Infections and Bruxism among 3-6 Year-Old Children in Isfahan https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3177368/
Burning mouth syndromehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3574592/
Whitney, Cataldo, Rolfes, (2002) Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition 6th Edition,
Teeth Grinding: Is Emotional Stability related to Bruxism? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2934876/