6 Exercises for Bruxism
Few things are more uncomfortable than grinding your teeth at night. These six simple exercises will help you to relax the stress that leads to bruxism.
Bruxism is a pathology related to the temporomandibular jaw joint. It’s caused by stress and often manifested through tooth grinding at night.
Bruxism is related to high levels of stress. Thus, the exercises to alleviate it will be aimed towards relaxation and stretching the jaw and its adjacent structures. Read along to find out more.
General relaxation techniques
Any activity that helps to reduce general stress is useful when it comes to alleviating bruxism. This includes meditation during which you close your eyes and “clear your mind“. Another option is to employ relaxing breathing exercises, such as taking in air for four seconds, holding it for seven seconds, and exhaling for eight seconds.
You can also choose to spend 15 minutes sitting down comfortably on the sofa with your eyes closed. Try to perceive only the stimuli from your direct environment. In all three cases, the goal is to stop the brain from overthinking in order to focus on breathing and other elements.
Local massages for bruxism
This is an exercise to alleviate bruxism directly. The objective is to provide a relaxing massage to the muscles that are cramped due to stress. This cramping can cause you to clench your jaw at night. According to various studies, clenching your teeth can lead to tooth damage.
Therefore, it’s important to massage the jaw muscles. Start with movements from the cheek to the temples, and then draw straight lines from the cheek to the nose, lips, and chin.
Next, start massaging under the nose and continue to the lower angle of the jaw. You can also massage in a ‘U’ shape from the chin towards the base of your ears.
Perform these movements between five and ten times each. They should be carried out slowly and with some pressure.
Specific jaw relaxation exercises for bruxism
The following is an exercise that comes in hand to relax jaw stress: clench your teeth vigorously for approximately ten seconds and then relax while moving your jaw from side to side. Perform this exercise several times and you’ll immediately feel relaxed.
General jaw relaxation exercises
In addition, there are a series of movements that speech therapists use to relax the jaw muscles. You can also use these movements to alleviate bruxism.
In order to perform the exercise, open your mouth to the maximum, and then close it. Then, open your mouth a little and move your jaw from side to side and then draw circles. Finally, stick out your tongue to the maximum and then bring it back in. Perform this exercise calmly and smoothly.
Pull your ears
This technique, typical of cranial osteopathy, is used frequently to decompress the temporal bone. The temporal bone is one of the bones that form the temporomandibular joint. Therefore, it’s directly related to the pathology at hand.
In order to perform this exercise, lie on your back and take both earlobes between your thumb and index finger. Apply some pressure and gently pull your earlobes towards your feet.
When you notice physical resistance, hold the position for a few seconds.
Accessory Muscle Stretches
Another exercise to alleviate bruxism is to stretch your accessory muscles. We’re talking specifically about the neck muscles. The following three stretches can help you to relax your cervical muscles.
First, look fully to one side and then to the other. Then look up at the ceiling and then toward your feet, and finally, tilt your head to one side to the other.
Exercises you can do at home for bruxism
As you can see, you can perform all of these exercises from the comfort of your own home. You don’t need any additional tools or extensive knowledge of anatomy or physiology.
Therefore, if you suffer from bruxism, try performing all the exercises mentioned above. You’ll gradually see improvement. If the discomfort persists, consult your medical professional.
- E. González, M. Emilce y P. Midobuche, et al. Bruxismo y Desgaste Dental. Revista ADM. Vol. 72 Issue 2, p92-98 (2015)
- Y. Morales, F. Neri y J. Castellanos. Fisiopatología del bruxismo nocturno. Factores endógenos y exógenos. Revista ADM. Vol. 72 Issue 2, p78-84 (2015)
- L. Godoy, A. Palacio y M. Naranjo. Acción e influencia del bruxismo sobre el sistema masticatorio: Revisión de literatura. CES Odontología. Vol. 21, Issue 1 (2008)