How to stop grinding teeth in sleep naturally

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Being a grinder is no fun for anyone involved, least of all your poor teeth. It’s like having a heavyweight boxing match happening in your mouth every single night. Believe me, I’ve seen the aftermath of what all that clenching and gnashing can do, and it ain’t pretty.


Now, a lot of my patients come to me in desperation after dealing with the repercussions of nighttime grinding for way too long. They’re waking up with migraines, jaw pain that makes chewing feel like a CrossFit workout, and teeth so worn down they’d have trouble biting through a marshmallow. At that point, we’ve got to break out the heavy duty treatments like custom night guards to protect what’s left of their chompers.


But here’s the thing – being a grinder doesn’t have to be a lifelong dental sentence. With a little effort and the right strategies, you can actually get that gnashing habit under control naturally before it causes too much damage. Let’s learn How to stop grinding teeth in sleep naturally.

What is Teeth Grinding?

Bruxism is the medical term for unconsciously grinding, gnashing, or clenching the teeth. It can occur during the day or night, but night grinding is often worse because you aren’t aware of it and can’t correct the behaviour. According to Singlecare research, an estimated 10% of adults and 15% of children grind their teeth regularly. For most, it’s caused by a mix of physical, psychological, and genetic factors.


Daytime grinding is one thing – at least we’re semi-aware we’re doing it. But that nighttime gnashing is a whole different beast. It’s like taking that painfully jolting bite over and over again incessantly while our conscious selves are blissfully oblivious to the destruction.


As much as we’d love to blame vivid lumberjack nightmares, bruxism usually stems from a twisted combo of physical stress, mental angst, and genetics. Maybe you’re a ball of workday tension, your anxiety makes your jaw ask “how much more clenching can we do?”, or you were just born with an eagerness for enamel erosion.


Bruxism is shockingly common and stems from the perfect storm of influences. Left unchecked, all that clenching and gnashing can do some serious long-term damage too. So while being an equal-opportunity grinder helps you feel less alone, it’s not a club membership to proudly tout, my friends. Let’s pinpoint those root causes and explore sending this gnarly habit packing for good!

How to stop grinding teeth in sleep naturally

I get it, when you’re already exhausted from a long day of chest-grinding at your stressful job and dealing with the lovely people navigating rush hour traffic, the last thing you want is a laundry list of things to do before bed. But rebuilding those ground-down teeth isn’t exactly a walk in the park either, am I right? A few simple tweaks to your routine is a small price to pay for saving your smile.

That’s why I’m going to let you in on some of the tooth-preserving secrets I share with patients who want to quit the grind without splurging on a night guard right out of the gate. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t actually involve whittling your own tooth protectors out of popsicle sticks and duct tape at home! Although props for creativity if you’ve tried that one…

If you’re one of the millions of nightly tooth grinders, don’t lose hope! I’ve worked with countless patients to successfully reduce their grinding through simple lifestyle changes and drug-free remedies. Here are my top tips on how to stop grinding teeth in sleep naturally:

  • Stress Less, Grind Less

It’s hard to underestimate the role that stress plays in revving up grinding habits. When we’re constantly frazzled or fretting about the million things on our plates, it’s almost like our jaws subconsciously pick up the tension and decide to start clenching away. TRy relaxation strategies as part of your pre-bed ritual, whether that’s meditation, deep breathing, light yoga, or just putting away your devices for a true electronic break. Working some form of daily exercise can also provide a much-needed tension release.

  • Watch Your Alcohol Intake

As much as you may crave a glass or two of wine to unwind after a long day, booze tends to disrupt the quality of your sleep – which is exactly when most teeth grinding occurs. Do your teeth a favour and stop drinking a few hours before bedtime. Proper hydration is key too, so keep water handy to avoid grinding brought on by a dry mouth.

  • Give Your Jaw a Rubdown

This shockingly simple home remedy does wonders – spending 5-10 minutes gently massaging the muscles around your jaw, temples, neck, and face before bed can release built-up tension that leads to overnight gnashing and clenching. Use your fingertips to knead the areas in small circular motions. An affordable hand-held massager also works great if you struggle with hand strain.

  • Ice!

Either applying a warm compress or an ice pack to your jaw muscles for 10-15 minutes before turning in can short-circuit grinding before it starts. I recommend alternating between the two for maximum relaxation benefits. That temporary cooling or heating helps “reset” those overworked muscles into beautiful, blissful submission.

  • Check Your Sleep Posture

While some tooth grinders can blame their habit on stress or misaligned bites, others simply struggle with poor sleep posture that strains the jaw. Sleeping on your side is particularly conducive to lots of grinding, as it shifts jaw positioning throughout the night. Try catching more Zzzs on your back instead, properly supporting your head and neck to keep your jaw more relaxed.

  • If Pain Persists, Consider a Night Guard

For many of my patients, this multi pronged approach of stress management, jaw muscle therapy, and proper sleep habits is enough to gain control over their grinding without professional treatment. However, if you still continue experiencing excessive gnashing that leads to increasing tooth damage, headaches, jaw disorders like TMJ, it may be time to get fitted for a custom night guard. While they’re certainly an investment, think of it as protecting your entire smile from requiring much costlier and extensive dental repairs down the road.

At the end of the day, my goal is to save you from that dawning “oh no, I did it again” realisation of waking up with face pain, headaches, and the internal cringe of wondering just how much more enamel you ground off your teeth overnight. Because as rough as bruxism can be in the short-term, the long-term effects of grinding away at your teeth for years can ultimately require intensive and pricey dental work that puts a serious dent in your smile’s long-term health.


So don’t be too hard on yourself if you’ve struggled to kick this maddening nighttime habit so far -uccessing getting that under control often takes a little experimentation and lifestyle adjustments. 


But I’ve seen patient after patient go from full-blown aggressive grinder to serene, pain-free sleeper through this two-pronged approach of reducing triggers and implementing simple jaw relaxation techniques.


While I can’t guarantee every single tip will be your magical cure, I can promise that committing to making just a few adjustments is worth a shot before springing for a clunky night guard or risking permanent teeth damage. Your wallet, jaw muscles, and sleeping partner will surely thank you for at least giving natural remedies an honest effort! And if you’ve tried it all and still can’t shake that gnashing habit, that’s when it’s time to come see me for a professional evaluation.


My team and I are experts at not just treating the symptoms of bruxism, but identifying and addressing the root causes through services like bite adjustment, orthodontics, or stress management strategies. Because the last thing you want is to invest in an expensive night guard only to realise there’s an underlying issue still driving that grinding impulse. Like I always say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – and in this case, it could save you some serious jaw aching and dental bill sticker shock too!

Book Your Dental Checkup for Lasting Relief

Dublin City Dentist is your go-to for professional care and advice. Our team specialises in treating sensitive teeth, offering solutions that provide both immediate relief and long-term protection. Contact us today to take the first step towards a healthier, pain-free smile.

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