Bruxism is a condition that doesn’t seem like a very terrible problem in the starting until the damaging effects of these conditions are exposed. In this condition the patient is having the tendency to clench or grind the teeth during day and night. When this is common specifically during sleep then it is called sleep bruxism. Bruxism is not given attention on time then adverse effects of this condition are clearly seen on teeth, jaw and face. Such conditions can develop due to any reason but the main cause for this condition is stress. Generally, a person under stress unknowingly clenches or grinds his/her teeth. In this article we will discuss Bruxism, its causes and how to manage and prevent it.
In many conditions bruxism can be the result of some central nervous system disorder. Patients face involuntary clenching or grinding of teeth and are confused about the reason. In other case some antidepressants can trigger bruxism. If not given attention, the patient may present with chipped teeth, facial pain, worned out enamel, headache, pain in ear and damage to gums or teeth tissues. Severe cases grinding can result in fracturing, loosening or loss of teeth. This condition is quite common in children as well especially during sleep.
The reason for bruxism is not understandable, it may occur due to the combination of physical, psychological and genetic factors. It is divided into two kinds one is sleep bruxism and another is awake bruxism. The awake bruxism can be the result of frustration, tension, anxiety, anger, stress and irritation. It can also be a presentable habit during deep concentration. In the sleeping stage it is very common in children and is usually due to pressure given by parents in the name of academics or sports. Other two forms of bruxism include primary and secondary bruxism.
Primary bruxism is again a result of physiological factors like stress, anxiety etc. and secondary bruxism can occur associated with any neurological condition. Some experts also consider that bruxism is a habit on the other hand some claim it to be the result of excess tobacco consumption, regular alcohol consumption, genetics, and abuse of recreational drugs.
So, if understood in a summary the causes of bruxism are unhealthy habits, abnormal jaw alignments, excessive consumption of caffeine (tea or coffee), neurological disorders, physiological factors like stress, situational anxiety, tension, frustration etc. and use of certain drugs like antidepressants or recreational drugs.
- Stiffness and Tenderness: Clenching teeth can hinder the muscles around the jaw, which may also affect the muscles, including the muscles in the neck area. Tender mandibular joint and facial muscle is also a symptom.
- Dental Injury: Bruxism can cause damage to enamel, lose ability to perform basic oral functions like swallowing, chewing and speaking because of pain and stiffness.
- Headaches: Clenching and grinding teeth together triggers pain that can begin at the temples and transfer to other parts of the skull.
- Earaches: Excessive clenching can result in recurrent ear aches as the structure of the temporomandibular joint lies near ears.
- Swelling: Swelling and inflammation of the temporomandibular joint can be the result of pressure on jaw and gums.
- Alcohol: The patients who are habitual of consuming alcohol on a regular basis can develop this condition.
- Age: It is common in young children as well as in adults. Under the age of 11 years children are more prone to develop this condition.
- Heredity: People with a family history of bruxism can develop this condition.
Natural Solution for Bruxism
- You should include things in your diet that are easy to chew and do not require prolonged chewing.
- All the food that is understood as vata vardhak aahar should strictly be avoided like black lentils, kidney beans, all polished pulses.
- Use of til oil is to be done for cooking food, white rice to be avoided as much as possible.
- Cold and packed food should be avoided, only consumption of fresh and hot food is to be done.
- Frozen foods should be completely avoided.
- Leftovers are not eaten.
- Fresh vegetables are to be cooked well and consumed that should not include eggplants and capsicum.
- Canned carbonated drinks and packed sugar contained juices to be avoided instead of that consumption of fresh juices can be done.
- Prefer foods which are sweet, sour and salty in taste.
- Cooked food should be garnished with ghee, oil and digestive spices.
- Caffeine and caffeine drinks are to be avoided.
- Add golden milk often known as “haldi wala dudh” in your diet before sleeping.
Avoid using alcohol and smoking before bed time. Train your tongue to rest slightly behind your upper front teeth.
Remember: “Lips together, teeth apart, tongue resting slightly behind the front teeth.”
- Don’t chew pens and pencils and also avoid daily use of chewing gums.
- You can try mouth guard if you have sleep bruxism.
- Try to avoid stress or reduce stress by medication and regular exercise.
- Try relying on semisolid food more than solid food.
- Massage your jaw with lukewarm til oil daily and then apply hot towel compress. It is very useful in exacerbation of bruxism like during anxiety or stress.
- Avoid post dinner temptations and try early morning exercises.
- Less consumption of pungent food substances.
3. Herbs for Bruxism
The bruxism causes constriction of muscles. So we have to use herbs that pacify Vata and soothes the muscles by removing the constriction. In addition, it nourishes the nervous system.
1. Tagar (Valerian wallichi)
It is known by the name indian valerian. Valerian was the spike that drove away the roman kings and wallichii is the name of the scientist who founded this herb. From here it got its botanical name Valerian wallichi. It belongs to the Valerianaceae family and to jatamansi kula. It has laghu and snigdha guna (properties), tikta (bitter) and katu (hot) rasa(taste), ushna virya (potency) and is perfect to balance tridoshas. Its decoction is very helpful in reducing pain, acts as laxative, antispasmodic and nourishes the central nervous system. It is the best herb that helps in getting rid of sleep bruxism and it plays a very important role in treating insomnia.
2. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
This herb can be used as aromatherapy in bruxism. Generally, the oi of lavender is used to relax your mind and hence it soothes the mind and reduces the stress. You can use this oil by diffusion method. You can use home fragrance lamps for this. It provides you with the ultimate fragrance and calms your mind, hormones, reduces anxiety and relieves stress.
Bruxism is a very common condition these days and many patients remain undiagnosed and keep suffering from this condition. Momentary bruxism does not cause much harm and can be easily controlled using lifestyle modifications. But in case of continued bruxism the patient must follow diet and lifestyle changes and should use above mentioned herbs. Visiting your physician is a good choice in this condition as may be associated with some neurological disorders. In case of any query kindly visit www.planetayurveda.com
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an Expert Ayurveda Consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.