Bruxism & TMJ • Natural home remedies

Bruxism is the term used to describe chronic teeth grinding. Teeth grinding may be a reaction to stress. With bruxism you might experience a variety of symptoms which, all put together, is known as TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome).

Bruxism - image of a human head with acupuncture points applied

Bruxism can be a result of sleep problems, misalignment of teeth, mineral deficiencies, reaction to pain, esophageal acid reflux, a side effect of medication or a focusing habit.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Ear pain
  • Headaches
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw pain
  • Worn-down teeth and eamel
  • Sore neck and/or back
  • With TMJ you will notice a clicking sound with jaw movement

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

It would be helpful to explore possible causes of your teeth-grinding with your doctor.  He might prescribe a mouth guard (to be worn at night).  He/She could run some tests and determine if you have a mineral deficiency and suggest some supplements.  He or she may prescribe muscle relaxants, antidepressants or dental alignment.

SELF TREATMENT

If your bruxism is a result of a focusing habit or stress, you can treat it on your own. Check out the entries for Stress and look into EFT.

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease. Eating properly will provide the minerals you need for strong bones and will balance your hormones so that you are less prone to anxiety and sleep disturbances. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, and quality protein. Don’t forget healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • Bone Broth is rich in minerals

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Hard foods
  • Processed sugars
  • Smoking

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil like coconut, or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath. The following oils may help you relax, or reduce inflammation and pain.

  • Bamboo
  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Clary Sage
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Turmeric
  • Valerian
  • Ylang Ylang

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Calcium
  • Homeopathic cell salts
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc

HYDRATION

Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

That exercise is beneficial is undisputed. It helps to relieve stress. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health and in the case of bruxism, might be a primary factor. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow.  See the post on Stress for some relaxation ideas.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Apply heat to your jaws to relax tightened muscles.
  • Check for parasites.
  • Consciously allow your mouth to rest while you are awake, keeping your teeth from touching except when eating or swallowing.
  • Mouth guard
  • Remind yourself throughout the day why clenching your teeth is bad for you and use positive affirmations to help you stop.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

  • Acupressure (http://www.acupressure.com/blog/index.php/sinus-problems-tmj-jaw-pain-and-bruxism-acupressure-points/)
  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Cranial Sacral Therapy may help, depending on the cause
  • Earthing
  • EFT (https://www.emofree.com/articles-ideas/general-ideas/tooth-grinding-kate-article.html)
  • Homeopathy (https://www.drhomeo.com/homeopathic-treatment/homeopathic-treatment-bruxism/)
  • Massage
  • Meditation for a calm mind

CAUTIONS

Talk to your doctor about determining the cause of your teeth grinding. If there is an underlying disease condition, you may require more help than found in this entry.

PREVENTION

  • Stay relaxed and reduce anxiety
  • Train yourself to relax your jaw
  • Use a mouth guard to protect teeth
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