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How to Stop Grinding Teeth at Night

Three Parts:Confirm that You Have BruxismHome RemediesProfessional and Medical Remedies

Teeth grinding is known by the medical term bruxism and most commonly affects people in their sleep.[1] Over time, teeth grinding can damage the teeth or cause other health complications. But don't worry -- you can alleviate your pain with some home remedies and with the help of your dentist. If you want to know how to stop grinding your teeth at night, then move down to Step 1.

Part 1
Confirm that You Have Bruxism

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    Understand bruxism. Bruxism is a condition where a person grinds, gnashes, or clenches his teeth unconsciously. Sleep bruxism is the condition of doing this at night. It is often related to daily stress. Some people do grind or clench their teeth during the day, but bruxism often occurs at night when the person is asleep. Because of this, it can often be difficult to self-diagnose bruxism.
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    Check for symptoms when you first wake up. Teeth grinding occurs at night, so you should check in the morning to see if you have any symptoms. It can be difficult to figure out that you grind your teeth on your own, but here are some signs that may indicate that you do grind your teeth at night:[2]
    • A dull, constant headache
    • A sore jaw
    • Audible teeth grinding sounds as you're falling asleep
    • Tooth sensitivity to heat, cold, or brushing
    • Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
    • Wounds on the inside of the cheeks (from biting)
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    Ask a loved one. If you sleep in the same bed as a loved one, simply ask him or her if he has ever heard you grinding your teeth in your sleep. Ask him to wake up earlier than you or go to bed later than you and to look out for any signs of teeth grinding. If this person wakes up in the middle of the night, he should also look out for those symptoms.
    • If you sleep on your own but really want to confirm that you're grinding your teeth along with checking for the symptoms, then you can consider recording yourself while you sleep and listening for any grinding sounds.
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    Ask a dentist. If you suspect that you have been grinding your teeth, consult your dentist. He or she will be able to examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism like jaw tenderness or worn-down teeth. Once you find out that you have bruxism, there are some home remedies that you can try as well as some professional treatments, that can help treat your condition. The dentist will also check to make sure that you are not suffering from some other ailments that cause similar pain such as:[3]
    • Dental disorders
    • Ear disorders or infections
    • TMJ or TMD (Temporomandibular disorders)
    • A side-effect of a medication

Part 2
Home Remedies

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    Reduce your stress. Stress is one major cause of teeth grinding, so you should aim to relieve your stress. You can relieve the stress in your life by attending stress counseling, exercising, or meditating. Here are some other ways to reduce your stress:[4]
    • Eliminate any major sources of stress in your life. If you're stressed out because of an unbearable roommate or a terrible relationship, it's time to get these negative sources out of your life and move on.
    • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will give you more energy to deal with your daily life.
    • Have fun with friends. Make time to laugh, be silly, and just do nothing with your friends. This will help you unwind.
    • Eat well. Eating three well-balanced and healthy meals each day will make you feel more balanced and less irritable.
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    Remove caffeine from your diet. Stop drinking soda, coffee, and energy drinks and try not to eat too much chocolate. Caffeine is a stimulant which will make it more difficult for you to relax your mind and the muscles of your jaw, especially at night.
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    Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant which will make it more difficult for you to sleep healthily. Teeth grinding tends to get worse after alcohol consumption. Though alcohol may make it easier for you to fall asleep, it will make you sleep a less restful, more shallow sleep, which will increase your teeth grinding.[5][6]
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    Stop chewing on non-foods. Stop yourself from stress-related habits that have to do with your mouth. For example, if you tend to chew on pencils or pens when you are stressed out, you should eliminate that habit.[7]If this is particularly challenging, you can chew gum or suck on a mint whenever you have the urge to chew on non-foods, and slowly wean yourself off of them.
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    Train yourself not to clench your jaw during the day. If you notice that your jaw is tense or that your teeth are gritted together, practice relaxing the jaw by placing the tip of your tongue between your teeth.[8]
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    Add calcium and magnesium supplements to your diet. Calcium and magnesium are necessary for muscle function and nervous system health. If you don't have enough, you can have problems with clenching, tension, and other muscle problems.[9]
    • This home remedy can take up to five weeks to work.[10]
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    Relax before bed. It is important to reduce stress before bed so that you're more relaxed during the night and therefore less likely to grind your teeth. Here are some ways to relax before bed and have a more restful sleep:[11]
    • Massage the muscles in your neck, shoulders, and face before you go to sleep.[12]Use your fingers and palms to massage the sides of your head, forehead and jaw in calming circular motions.
    • Soak a washcloth in hot water and hold it against your cheek in front of your earlobe. This will help your muscles to relax and unclench.
    • Take a warm washcloth and hold it over your whole face. This will both help your muscles relax and put you in a calmer state of mind.
    • Turn on soothing music or white noise to help achieve a calm state of mind as you drift off to sleep.
    • Read in bed for at least half an hour before you sleep. This will help you get ready for sleep.
    • Turn off the television, computer, and any bright lights at least an hour before bed. Minimize your sensory experience before you fall asleep.

Part 3
Professional and Medical Remedies

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    See a dentist for general help. If your teeth grinding persists, you should go in to see a dentist as chronic teeth grinding can result in fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. If you grind your teeth too consistently, you may even need bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, or even complete dentures. Your dentist will be able to assess which treatments will work best for you. Here are some treatments your dentist may recommend depending on the severity of your symptoms:[13]
    • Muscle relaxants. Bruxism is very rarely treated with medication, but sometimes muscle relaxants and botox can be prescribed to loosen the jaw and prevent teeth grinding.[14]
    • Having crowns or onlays put onto your teeth. If your bruxism has caused damage to the teeth, your bite may be out of alignment. If this is the case, your dentist can use onlays or crowns to reshape the surface of your teeth in order to repair your bite.[15]
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    Get a splint or mouth guard made by your dentist. Your dentist will most likely recommend a mouth guard or splint at night to protect your teeth from the wear and damage caused by grinding. Here is some more information about mouth guards and splints:[16][17]
    • Mouth guards can be custom-fitted by your dentist or can be purchased over the counter. However, mouth guards tend to be soft and can dislodge during teeth grinding. A custom-made mouthguard is significantly more expensive than an over-the-the counter one (though much of the cost may be covered by your insurance), but it will fit your teeth more easily and will create less discomfort.
    • Self-adjusting mouth guards made of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) are an affordable alternative to try, before committing to the investment of a custom made mouth guard. These mouth guards can easily be molded in hot water and thus adjusted to your bite. [18]
    • Dental splints are constructed of hard acrylic and fit over either your upper or lower teeth. They are also worn at night in order to protect your teeth from being damaged.
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    Get your teeth fixed cosmetically (optional). If bruxism has affected how your teeth look and you wish to change that, you can see a cosmetic dentist to discuss options.If your teeth have been shortened or ground down by teeth-grinding, a cosmetic dentist can rebuild and reshape the teeth using dental crowns or veneers.[19]These treatments will restore the look of your teeth so that they are longer and look more even.


  • When you have your mouth closed, don't let your teeth touch. They should only be touching when you're chewing and swallowing.
  • While ice is good for most pain, do not use ice in this situation. It will only further the tightening of your jaw, adding to the pain later on. Use a warm washcloth on your face as was mentioned earlier.
  • If your jaw hurts, you can take a pain reliever like ibuprofen to provide temporary relief.


  • Severe teeth grinding can lead to the fracturing, loosening or loss of teeth. It can also affect your jaw and lead to TMD/TMJ, so if you find yourself grinding your teeth often, you should consult a dentist immediately.
  • Some people have been known to develop bruxism after starting antidepressant medication. If this is the case, contact your doctor to see if you can use a different drug or take a medicine that will counteract your teeth grinding[15].

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