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May 31, 2024 7 min read

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common condition that can occur during sleep. It can lead to various issues, such as jaw pain, tooth damage, and sleep disturbances. Understanding how to stop grinding teeth in sleep naturally can significantly improve your oral health and overall well-being.1

This article will explore effective methods and techniques to help you manage and reduce teeth grinding.


Understanding the impact of bruxism on the jaw and TMJ.

Understanding Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Bruxism is a condition characterized by the grinding or clenching of teeth, often occurring unconsciously during sleep. It involves the involuntary movement of the jaw muscles, leading to the grinding of the upper and lower teeth against each other.1

This sleep-related movement disorder can cause significant wear and tear on the teeth, leading to various dental issues if left untreated.1

Causes of Teeth Grinding

The causes of teeth grinding can vary from person to person. Common factors include:

  • Stress and Anxiety: High levels of stress and anxiety can trigger bruxism, as the body responds to stress by clenching the jaw.

  • Sleep Disorders: Conditions such as sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, can contribute to teeth grinding and cause disruptions that can lead to bruxism.

  • Medications: Certain medications, particularly those used to treat depression and anxiety, can have side effects that include teeth grinding.

  • Lifestyle Factors: Habits such as smoking, excessive caffeine intake, and alcohol consumption can increase the risk of bruxism.

Health Complications from Teeth Grinding

Chronic teeth grinding, or bruxism, can lead to several significant health complications that impact your daily life and overall well-being.1

Jaw Pain and TMJ Disorders

Constant grinding can cause pain and dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the lower jaw to the skull. This can result in TMJ disorders, characterized by jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and clicking or locking of the jaw. Over time, the persistent pressure and movement can lead to inflammation and further aggravate the condition.

Tooth Damage

Grinding your teeth can wear down the enamel, leading to increased tooth sensitivity, fractures, and even tooth loss. The repeated pressure on the teeth can cause them to become loose, and in severe cases, bruxism can alter the alignment of your teeth and necessitate dental correction.

Chronic teeth grinding can lead to severe dental issues like fractures and enamel wear.

Headaches and Neck Pain

The muscle tension from bruxism often results in frequent headaches and neck pain. This pain is typically due to the overuse of the jaw muscles, which can extend to the neck and shoulders, leading to chronic discomfort and tension headaches.

Sleep Disturbances

The noise and discomfort from grinding can disrupt your sleep and that of your bed partner. Sleep-related disorders not only affect your sleep quality but can also contribute to sleep deprivation, making it difficult to achieve a restful night's sleep.

Natural Remedies to Prevent Teeth Grinding

Managing and reducing teeth grinding naturally involves a combination of stress reduction techniques, dietary adjustments, and lifestyle changes.3

Stress Reduction Techniques

Stress reduction techniques like meditation can help prevent teeth grinding.

Reducing stress is crucial in managing teeth grinding. Stress often exacerbates bruxism, making it essential to incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine.

Deep Breathing and Meditation

Practicing deep breathing exercises and meditation can help calm the mind and reduce tension in your jaw muscles. These techniques promote relaxation and can be particularly effective when practiced before bedtime.

Physical Exercise

Regular physical activity helps reduce overall stress levels, which can prevent bruxism. Engaging in activities such as yoga, jogging, or swimming can help manage stress and reduce the frequency of teeth grinding.

Dietary Adjustments

Your diet can have a significant impact on bruxism. Making mindful dietary changes can help reduce the occurrence of teeth grinding.

Avoid Stimulating Substances

Reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol, especially before bedtime, can help decrease teeth grinding. These substances can increase muscle activity and disrupt sleep, exacerbating bruxism.

Magnesium-Rich Foods

Consuming foods high in magnesium, such as leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, can help relax muscles and prevent bruxism. Magnesium plays a critical role in muscle function and can help reduce the tension in the jaw muscles.

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Teeth Grinding

Implementing lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the occurrence of teeth grinding and improve your sleep quality.

Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your sleep patterns and reduce grinding. You can also use mouth guards as part of consistent sleep habits that support your body's natural sleep-wake cycle, promoting better sleep quality.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help prevent dehydration, which is linked to muscle cramps and tension, including in the jaw. Staying hydrated ensures that your muscles, including those in the jaw, function properly and remain relaxed.

Physical Interventions

Regular jaw exercises can relax the jaw muscles and reduce bruxism.

Implementing physical interventions can significantly reduce teeth grinding by addressing muscle tension and promoting proper alignment. These methods focus on relaxing the jaw muscles and ensuring that your posture supports your overall oral health.

Jaw Exercises and Massages

Performing jaw exercises and massages can help relax the jaw muscles, reducing tension and minimizing the risk of teeth grinding, also known as sleep bruxism.4

Regularly practicing specific jaw exercises can strengthen and relax the jaw muscles, helping to prevent nocturnal bruxism:

  • Opening and Closing Movements: Slowly open your mouth as wide as comfortable and then close it gently. Repeat this exercise multiple times to help relax the jaw muscles and improve their flexibility.

  • Side-to-Side Movements: Move your lower jaw slowly from side to side. This exercise helps in reducing muscle tension and promotes relaxation in the jaw area, making it less likely for you to grind your teeth during sleep.

Gently massaging the jaw and facial muscles can relieve tension and prevent grinding:

  • Jaw Massages: Use your fingers to gently massage the muscles around your jaw, focusing on areas where you feel tension. This can help to increase blood flow and reduce muscle tightness.4

  • Facial Massages: Massaging your facial muscles, particularly around the temples and along the jawline, can alleviate tension and promote relaxation, reducing the likelihood of teeth grinding at night.

Proper Alignment Practices

Maintaining good posture throughout the day and night can significantly reduce bruxism by ensuring that your neck and jaw are properly aligned.

Proper ergonomic setup at your workstation can prevent strain on your neck and jaw:

  • Ergonomic Workstation: Adjust your chair and computer monitor to ensure that your head and neck are in a neutral position. Avoid leaning forward or slouching, as this can cause unnecessary strain on your jaw muscles, leading to bruxism.

The way you sleep can also impact your risk of teeth grinding:

  • Back Sleeping: Sleeping on your back with a supportive pillow helps keep your neck and spine aligned. This position can reduce the tension in your jaw muscles and prevent grinding.

  • Pillow Support: Use a pillow that supports your head and neck properly, ensuring that your spine stays in a neutral position throughout the night.

The Role of Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

Incorporating mindfulness practices and cognitive behavioral techniques can help you become more aware of your teeth-grinding habits and reduce stress, which is a common trigger for bruxism.

A calming bedtime routine with herbal tea can help reduce teeth grinding.

Mindfulness can help you become aware of and reduce subconscious teeth grinding:

  • Mindfulness Meditation: Regular mindfulness meditation practice can help you recognize and control the clenching of your jaw. By becoming more aware of your body’s stress responses, you can take proactive steps to relax your jaw muscles and reduce teeth grinding during sleep.5

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help change thought patterns that contribute to bruxism:3

  • Stress Management: CBT techniques focus on managing stress and anxiety, which are significant contributors to teeth grinding. By learning how to manage your stress levels effectively, you can reduce the likelihood of grinding your teeth at night.6

  • Behavioral Changes: CBT can also help you develop healthier habits and coping mechanisms, addressing the underlying causes of bruxism and promoting better sleep hygiene.

When to See a Professional

Recognizing when to seek professional help is crucial for managing teeth grinding effectively. If you experience persistent jaw pain, frequent headaches, or noticeable tooth damage, it’s time to consult a healthcare provider. Chronic bruxism can lead to severe dental issues, including loose or fractured teeth and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Additionally, seeking professional advice is essential if your sleep is disrupted or teeth grinding is causing significant discomfort. Medical treatments, such as custom-fitted mouthguards, medications, and therapies like Botox injections, can provide effective relief.

Timely intervention can prevent further damage and improve your overall quality of life.

Consult a healthcare provider if you experience persistent jaw pain or tooth damage.

Conclusion: How to Stop Grinding Teeth in Sleep Naturally

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can significantly impact your oral health and overall quality of life. You can manage and reduce the frequency of teeth grinding by understanding the causes and implementing natural remedies, such as stress reduction techniques, dietary adjustments, and lifestyle changes.

Physical interventions like jaw exercises, massages, mindfulness practices, and cognitive behavioral strategies can further help prevent bruxism.

However, it is crucial to recognize when professional help is needed. Persistent or severe symptoms require medical evaluation to prevent long-term damage and ensure effective treatment. Professional interventions, including mouthguards, medications, and physical therapies, provide comprehensive solutions for managing bruxism.

Prioritize your oral health and well-being by taking proactive steps to address teeth grinding and achieve a restful, rejuvenating sleep.



  1. Beddis, H., Pemberton, M., & Davies, S. (2018). Sleep bruxism: an overview for clinicians. British dental journal, 225(6), 497–501. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.757

  2. Lavigne, G. J., Khoury, S., Abe, S., Yamaguchi, T., & Raphael, K. (2008). Bruxism physiology and pathology: an overview for clinicians. Journal of oral rehabilitation, 35(7), 476–494. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2842.2008.01881.x

  3. Lal SJ, Sankari A, Weber, DDS KK. Bruxism Management. [Updated 2024 May 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482466/

  4. Guaita, M., & Högl, B. (2016). Current Treatments of Bruxism. Current treatment options in neurology, 18(2), 10. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11940-016-0396-3

  5. Yao, J., Carciofo, R., & Pan, L. (2023). Rational thinking as a mediator of the relationship between mindfulness and dental anxiety. Scientific reports, 13(1), 3104. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-28879-4

  6. Saczuk, K., Lapinska, B., Wilmont, P., Pawlak, L., & Lukomska-Szymanska, M. (2019). Relationship between Sleep Bruxism, Perceived Stress, and Coping Strategies. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(17), 3193. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173193