Teeth grinding and clenching – What to do if you grind or clench your teeth?
Teeth grinding and clenching is nothing new.
Its roots stem from our very beginnings. From times where we would tense up our jaw muscles to protect our crucial eating mechanism from predators in a fight or flight situation. When the situation was over, we would release the tension.
Today, we still experience this reaction of our jaw muscles tensing up, but there is rarely a clear-cut end to our stress as was the case in the past.
You guessed it – with the erosion of a natural work-life balance, cases of teeth grinding and clenching have also gone through the roof! Not to mention the added stress many people have experienced during the last year of global chaos.
So, what can you do if you commonly experience teeth grinding and/or clenching?
There are typically three different approaches:
1. Treat the symptoms only
This would typically be supported with dental splints to be worn at night. Many people also resort to painkillers to relieve the pain in their jaw. This ‘tackling the symptoms’ approach is currently the most popular and you are likely to find a professional in your area who can support you in preventing damage to your teeth. The daily effort required is not very much, however there is a fair degree of discomfort for many when wearing a dental splint at night (and finding it around the house!). Many people are also frustrated of having to take painkillers as they are concerned of the health effects.
2. Tackle the root causes and symptoms
Myofunctional therapy is becoming increasingly popular as a treatment for teeth grinding and clenching, as it is a natural science-based method that has achieved great results in tackling both symptoms and root causes. The premise of myofunctional science is to restore the natural balance of the orofacial system – for example by adopting the correcting tongue resting position and learning to focus on nose breathing. Tackling the symptoms with this approach is often not as effective straight away as approach 1 outlined above, as the focus is on tackling root causes to prevent symptoms in the long run. Myofunctional therapy also works really well in combination with adaptations to your lifestyle such as the food you eat or how you spend time at the computer (which can all affect your jaw!).
Many people have heard of ‘Mewing’ by Dr. Mike Mew (Orthotropics) which has shown the world incredible results in restoring jaw health naturally. As a result, people all over the world started doing jaw exercises with some incredible results in tackling jaw related issues.
At Kieferfreund we have had a similar success story! The Kieferfreund App and Tools were developed by Speech and Language Pathologist Julia Burits (M.A) as she worked together with dentist and therapist and saw how effective myofunctional science was to tackle teeth grinding and clenching amongst her patients. Today people all around the world have benefitted from our method and have achieved incredible results in tackling often life-long habits of teeth grinding and clenching. In as little as 20 minutes a day and 3 weeks of training – the app guides you to restore balance in your orofacial system to tackle the root causes!
3. A combination of 1 & 2 – best of both worlds.
Many people would like to continue using their dental splint, while giving myofunctional science a shot. This is often a good solution for those who are worried about the damage that their grinding habit is doing to their teeth as myofunctional science takes some time to show results. Eventually many people with this approach try to leave the splint or painkillers away for a bit… when they have started to feel more confident about the principles of myofunctional science (e.g. when seeing first results). For many it is helpful to try these periods without the splint, so that the orofacial system can operate without a foreign object to restore its natural balance (e.g. the position of the tongue at the palate).
If you grind or clench your teeth – don’t worry. There’s hope for you, your jaw and your teeth. The exciting rise of myofunctional science has opened up the potential for a natural treatment option you can do from the comfort of your home. If you would like to dive straight into it headfirst or would like to continue using traditional tools to support you, this is up to you and varies from individual to individual.
To find out more about the Kieferfreund app to tackle teeth grinding and clenching natural click here.
The Kieferfreund Blog aims to make natural jaw health accessible to everyone! The Blog covers the physiology and biology of the jaw – as well as crucial lifestyle tips to naturally tackle any jaw related issues! This includes teeth grinding, teeth clenching, TMD, jaw tension and much more! If you are experiencing any of the above or want to look after your health – tune in!
Felix Neubauer, Kieferfreund Product Manager, Meditation Coach and Author of a book on Happiness! In the Kieferfreund podcast, Felix interviews experts to bring to you cutting edge knowledge and insights from holistic jaw healing modalities. If you have any questions or suggestions for Felix & the Kieferfreund team you can contact him here: Felix.firstname.lastname@example.org