Kaufman: Putting stop to grinding your teeth

Teeth grinding is a condition of clenching, grinding, or gnashing the teeth either unconsciously during the day or night.

Teeth grinding is a condition of clenching, grinding, or gnashing the teeth either unconsciously during the day, or at night while sleeping.

The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism, and nighttime teeth grinding is called sleep bruxism. Bruxism, if severe enough, can cause headaches, tooth damage and jaw problems or disorders, but it may often go undiagnosed, especially with sleep bruxism.

Symptoms of bruxism are grinding or clenching teeth, worn, flattened, chipped, or overly sensitive teeth, tight jaw or jaw pain, ear ache because of a tight jaw, disrupted sleep, neck and shoulder tension, or headaches.

Conventional medicine doesn’t entirely understand the causes of teeth grinding, however adult teeth grinding can be linked to anxiety, stress or tension, suppressed anger or frustration, or aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personalities.

Other causes may be poor alignment of upper and lower teeth or the body’s natural sleep cycles. In some cases, bruxism can be a result of another disease, such as Parkinson’s or Huntington diseases.

In children, teeth grinding may be due to the growth and development of teeth and jaws, and is usually outgrown by adolescence.

There isn’t much that medical treatment can do to resolve teeth grinding—medications are largely ineffective but muscle relaxants may be prescribed or your doctor may consider changing one of your medications if teeth grinding is a side effect.

A mouth guard may also be fitted to protect teeth while sleeping, or your dentist may correct misaligned teeth, however this may not stop the grinding.

The best solutions seem to be lifestyle and behavioural changes, including reducing stress and learning to manage stress better through relaxation and exercise, and practicing an awareness of proper jaw and mouth position, with the tongue on the roof of the mouth, jaw relaxed, the teeth slightly parted, and the mouth closed.

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, teeth grinding can be treated quite effectively with acupuncture. There are five main patterns commonly seen in this disorder.

Out of these, four are considered excessive conditions where one or two organs are functioning at a higher than normal rate, commonly the heart, stomach, and liver.

Excess types of bruxism are typically seen in people with stress, anxiety, tension, anger and frustration, and hyperactivity or competitiveness because the hyperactive state of these organs leaves the mind and body in a restless or agitated state.

Another excess pattern is caused largely by poor diet that weakens the digestion and causes food to stagnate in the digestive system, leading to the inability for a proper restful sleep, and symptoms such as feeling of oppression in the chest and stomach, no desire to think of food, diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, and nighttime bruxism.

The other cause of bruxism is a deficient condition of blood and qi-energy weakness.

The symptoms common in this pattern are pale complexion, dizziness, vertigo, heart palpitations, pale lips and nails and disinclination to sleep.

The main differentiation in this pattern is that the teeth grinding would be rather quiet, low, dull sounding, rather than rougher and louder sounding in the excess patterns. Factors that may lead to bruxism are poor diet, weak digestive system, or age.

Acupuncture improves bruxism by correcting the functioning of the organs that are excessive or deficient.  Points are selected along the energetic meridian of the organ in imbalance. The points can be located on the trunk, limbs and/or face.

However, points don’t have to be done on the face or jaw just because this is the area of the symptoms, although local points may be used to relieve muscle tension and pain.

Some simple changes to diet and lifestyle habits are also easy, effective ways to increase the results of acupuncture.

James Kaufman is a registered acupuncturist in Kelowna

 

www.okanaganacupuncture.com

 

 

Just Posted

Cherry season has arrived in the Okanagan

Dust off those cherry pie recipes

Sun-Rype Products Ltd. and Mamas for Mamas announce partnership

The partnership will help support mothers in crisis

Foundry Kelowna makes health care impact

More than 1,000 people ages 12 to 24 in the past year have come seeking help

Canadian pet boutique expands to Ontario

The Bone & Biscuit Company looks to leave it’s paw print

Two artists put on divine feminine art show in Kelowna

The show will be on for the month of July

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

New craft brewery location chosen in Kelowna

Rustic Reel Brewing says it will produce beer at new location on Vaughan Avenue

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Most Read