Do you know how your jaw can affect how well you sleep? Have you ever stopped to think about how a clenched jaw from stress might be affecting other aspects of your life? It’s not just about how you feel- it might also be impacting the health of your teeth and gums. In this article, we will explore how to relax your jaw when sleeping and stop clenching your jaw to avoid any problems and get a better night’s sleep.
Clenching your jaw probably isn’t something you think about on a regular basis. You may even do it without realizing how much of an effect it has on how you feel. For example, when you clench your jaw, the muscles in your face will contract and give you that feeling of tension in your temples or headaches. You may also notice how you jaws sometimes start to ache after they eat something hard, like an apple. Clenching your teeth can lead to headaches, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and problems with how you chew food.
What is sleep bruxism?
If you are grinding or clenching your jaw while sleeping, it is known as sleep bruxism.
What are the symptoms of sleep bruxism?
Symptoms of sleep bruxism include:
– jaw pain in the morning
– tooth aches and sensitivity
– teeth that appear worn or chipped on the edges.
All of these symptoms are very common and can cause problems with how you sleep at night. It also has been known to increase how often you may suffer from colds and respiratory infections due to how it affects how well you sleep at night. If you feel like your teeth are floating or becoming loose, this could be an indication that your teeth are being ground against each other at night through jaw clenching.
Jaw clenching and teeth grinding
Jaw clenching at night can result in grinding of your teeth. If you feel like your teeth are floating or becoming loose, this could be an indication that your teeth are being ground against each other at night through jaw clenching. Long term, grinding your teeth at night can wear down your teeth, chip and crack your teeth and even result in tooth loss.
How common is sleep bruxism?
Up to 30% of adults and 40% of children grind their teeth while sleeping.
What causes sleep bruxism and jaw clenching?
Research shows that sleep bruxism is caused by:
– stress and anxiety (the most common cause)
– other factors such as alcohol, caffeine and how much you exercise.
Sleep bruxism may also occur because biological factors such as a misalignment between your upper and lower teeth, dentures which no longer fit well, gum disease or even earwax buildup in the ears! The latter two reasons are not specific to just adults; children can experience sleep bruxism too. They may even chew on objects like pencil erasers or their fingers during deep sleeps. Therefore it’s important for parents to take note if this starts happening with toddlers since they could experience pain from wearing down their new baby teeth because of how sharp they are.
How to Relax Your Jaw When Sleeping
The first stage in stopping clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth at night is to become aware of tension in your jaw during the day. You can note the times when you begin to feel tightness in your jaw. Often, people unconsciously tighten the muscles of the jaw during times of stress.
Once you become more aware of how often this might happen during the day, there are some easy ways to stop yourself from grinding your teeth while you sleep.
1. Talk to your dentist
The first thing you should do if you are experiencing any jaw clenching symptoms is talk with your dentist about how they can help. Most dentists will have some techniques that might be helpful in relaxing the jaw when sleeping.
2. Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol before bed
It is possible that the caffeine in coffee, soda, tea and energy drinks are to blame for your jaw clenching. Caffeine can cause increased muscle tension, including tension in the jaw muscles. The effects of stress on our bodies are compounded by how we cope with them – for many people this includes using caffeine to reduce their anxiety levels. While this might seem like it will help the problem, it actually makes matters worse because all of these things can lead to more frequent jaw clenching at night while sleeping.
Alcohol is another culprit as it relaxes some muscles and over-relaxes others causing a drooping chin and slackened lower lip which leads to an open mouth that results in teeth grinding or clacking together. Alcohol causes a loosening up effect that makes the jaw muscles more likely to clench or tighten.
If you want a relaxing drink before bedtime, check out our list of the 14 best teas for sleep.
3. Take a vitamin supplement
A vitamin supplement can help prevent jaw clenching while you sleep. In particular, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins B and C can reduce jaw clenching. Magnesium relaxes the nervous system and low magnesium levels can be associated with high stress. A magnesium supplement therefore decreases the likelihood of jaw clenching in a dual-action way by relaxing the twitch muscles of the jaw and potentially assisting with lowering stress. Calcium deficiency can cause bones to weaken, so taking a supplement can assist in reducing the damage done by jaw clenching. Finally, vitamins B and C are both associated with deeper and better quality sleep.
4. Wear a gum shield to bed
One way to avoid jaw clenching is by wearing a gum shield at night. The shield will protect your mouth from injury and stop you from clenching or grinding your teeth. It’s also worth noting that if you wear one while sleeping with braces on then it’ll help prevent tooth damage too!
A gum shield can make all the difference for how well rested and how healthy your jaw feels in the morning…It’s not just about how many hours you get but how comfortable those hours are too!
5. Practice jaw relaxation exercises for sleep
One of the easiest exercises that can help you learn to relax your jaw when sleeping is just opening and closing your mouth about five times in a row. Try this several times throughout the day- it will not only teach how to relax your jaw muscles but also how to open up those tight spots where you might be clenching your jaw in the back.
Another exercise that you can try is to push out and then suck in on your cheeks while holding for a few seconds each time. This works just like how we would naturally yawn, but with more force behind it so you are pushing and pulling at both ends of where they meet in order to open up and relax your jaw muscles.
Finally, you can also try to rotate the head in a circle each way about five times while keeping how relaxed as possible. Try these exercises until they become second nature- it might take some practice at first but eventually you will get how to relax your jaw when sleeping so that you never have to worry about teeth grinding again.
6. Jaw massage
The jaw is a complex structure made up of hinge joints, called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It’s located in front of your ears and it opens and closes to allow you to eat, speak, and yawn. This joint can become stiff and tense, and may benefit from being massaged before you sleep.
The massage technique itself is pretty easy. While lying on your side, place the fingers of both hands between the upper and lower jaw near where they meet at the TMJ. Then gently massage by rubbing in a circular motion before moving to the other side.
If you experience jaw pain, headaches or tooth problems in the morning, then it’s likely that you’re clenching your teeth when sleeping. There are many ways to relax your jaws before bedtime and prevent this from happening. You should always talk with a dentist about how to protect your teeth while sleeping. For tips you can do at home to stop jaw clenching during sleep: avoiding caffeine and alcohol at night; taking vitamin supplements for oral health; wearing an orthodontic device called a gum shield during sleep ; practicing relaxation exercises before bed time such as “jaw drop” exercises which involve opening the mouth wide and letting go of any tension in muscles there so they feel limp rather than clenched closed tightly- these should help calm down muscle movements that could lead to clenching.
I hope this article helps you to stop clenching your jaw at night, and as always, I wish you a good night’s sleep!