How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth: Night Guard and Alternatives


If you're waking up with a sore jaw and sensitive teeth, you could be suffering from teeth grinding. Clenching and gnashing your teeth at night is not a choice. Fortunately, simple solutions like night guards could help reduce or eliminate your symptoms. Learn more about teeth grinding, its impact, and how a night guard could change your oral health. 

What Is Bruxism and What Are Its Causes?

Bruxism is the clinical term for grinding, gnashing, and clenching your teeth. Usually, there are four common reasons why people grind their teeth.


Stress can lead to "awake bruxism" and is often a coping mechanism to deal with anxiety, frustration, or tension. Some people also experience awake bruxism when they're concentrating. 


Bruxism could indicate you have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD is a problem with the jaw and surrounding muscles that cause pain, headaches, or popping noises.

Medication and Lifestyle

Some medications, like antidepressants, can lead to bruxism. Smoking, drinking caffeine, consuming alcohol, and taking recreational drugs can aggravate bruxism.

History of Bruxism in Your Family

If you're grinding and clenching your teeth, chances are there is a family history of bruxism. It's not uncommon to discover your parents, siblings, or grandparents also deal with the condition.

Bruxism is a sleep disorder, just like snoring or sleep apnea. If you have other sleep issues, you may also have bruxism.

The Risk of Clenching Your Teeth Regularly

Bruxism poses a risk to your dental health. Clenching your teeth wears your enamel away. You're at an increased risk of cavities, cracking, or breaking your teeth with less enamel.

While there are many possible health complications, these are the most common ones we associate with bruxism:

  • Flattened or chipped teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Tooth sensitivity or pain
  • Neck or jaw soreness
  • Pain around your ear
  • Headache
  • Teeth grinding loud enough to wake up your partner
  • Tight jaw muscles
  • Gum recession
  • Nerve damage
  • Loose teeth
  • Jaw impairment

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth With a Night Guard

Although bruxism is often painful and problematic, you can find relief with a night guard.

What Is a Night Guard?

A night guard resembles a plastic retainer that may be hard or soft. The guard covers the area where you bite down and may wear down the top or bottom of your teeth. Some night guards grip both your bottom and top teeth.

When Do You Need a Night Guard?

You should wear a night guard as soon as you notice any damage or issues from bruxism. If you suspect you may have bruxism, ask your partner if they’ve noticed noise at night. A night guard device helps protect your teeth from harm, eases related pain, and provides a better night's sleep.

Where Can You Buy a Night Guard?

Dental night guards are available over-the-counter without a prescription, but the results vary. Purchasing a night guard through a dental provider is usually higher quality and customized to fit your mouth.

Alternatives to a Night Guard That Can Help You Stop Grinding

There are also alternatives to night guards to help combat the impact of bruxism. Here are a few to consider and ease your teeth grinding pain and damage.

1. Botox

Research shows that Botox could provide relief from bruxism. The injections freeze the muscles that create tension along the jaw and prevent them from clenching and causing damage.

Remember that Botox is not permanent and usually lasts around six months. 

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Also known as CBT, Cognitive Behavior Therapy addresses causes of teeth grinding and clenching. For example, if you're struggling with stress and anxiety, CBT helps change how you deal with the stress and manage your teeth gnashing. However, the therapy may not work if TMD or medications cause your teeth to clench.

3. Hypnosis

Hypnosis helps people enter a relaxed, trance-like state with heightened focus and concentration. You're more open to suggestions, and the hypnotherapist works to connect with your unconscious mind and behavior. The hypnosis could help you relax and reduce or eliminate teeth grinding

4. Tapping

Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), soothes various ailments, including bruxism symptoms. The technique involves tapping fingers on pressure points on your body. 

Tapping falls into body-centered therapies, like massage or yoga. The concept is similar to acupuncture, which helps your body adjust energy flow. People who use EFT tap on specific body areas and use a reminder phrase to focus on finding relief for teeth gnashing.

5. General De-Stressing

Embracing more de-stressing techniques in your life could reduce jaw clenching and grinding. 

Yoga reduces stress while helping you keep your body flexible and in shape. Yoga is also great for posture, and poor posture could lead to TMD. When your posture improves, it's possible to ease bruxism symptoms.

Stop bruxism and protect your dental health at a fraction of the cost by signing up for Carefree Dental!



The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance, and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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