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Teeth grinding (bruxism)

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


As one is transitioning from a sleeping state (SWS) to a waking state the autonomic nervous system, motor system, and cognitive processes are activated.  Sleep disorders known as parasomnias involve this transition and include a number of different and unusual physical or mental activities.  Teeth grinding is one of these as is restless legs syndrome and others such as sleep walking, night-terrors, and arousal confusion that are more common in children.

Those that deal with bruxism (teeth grinding) during sleep may also have a tendency to clench or grind their teeth in waking hours but are able to control the impulse.  In any event this clenching or the strain to control it can also lead to TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome) and the jaw pain associated with it. Also the teeth themselves can be damaged from the physical grinding. A physical remedy to prevent teeth damage is to obtain a mouth guard from the dentist to wear during sleeping hours.

To provide long lasting help the root cause is helpful but the reasons for teeth grinding are not well documented.  The website TeethGrindingAnswerSharing.com lists 14 possible reasons for sleep grinding:

   Anxiety or stress the person may be undergoing;

   Digestive problems;

   Asymmetrical teeth – teeth that are shaped or positioned differently on each sides of the jaw, or poor bite alignment;

   Irregular or disturbed sleep patterns – an experiment was conducted at the Nippon Dental University in Tokyo that concluded there was a positive correlation between sleep stage 1 (the first stage: drowsiness) and teeth grinding, suggesting that those with bruxism typically have unstable and shallower sleep patterns and/or sleep disorders;

   A deficiency in pantothenic acid (Vitamin B-5). This is an anti-stress vitamin that reduces the product of certain hormones and helps control motor activity, including that of the reflexes of the jaw;

   Calcium deficiency;

   Magnesium deficiency may be another causes, as it can cause spasms and affects people at night;

   Dislocated jaw;

   Central nervous system disorders;

   Having a new dental filling installed;

   Parasites are another possible cause. A common parasite call a pinworm can cause it. A large percentage of the population has some form of parasite, so a stool analysis test may be needed to test for this;

   Ecstasy use or abuse (MDMA);

   Substances or medications cited as possible causes of teeth grinding include: Atapryl, Carbex, Catovit, Dopar, Eldenpryl, L-Denprenyl, Larodopa, Levodopa, Lodosyn, Prolintane, Selegiline, Sinemet, Sinemet CR, and Ecstasy as listed above;

   Internalization of a person’s anger can manifest itself in bruxism.

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends: LavenderC, Calming BlendC

Essential oils based products: LLV

Also consider: Massage Blend, Soothing Blend, Marjoram

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

To improve restful sleep diffuse Calming Blend or Lavender at bedtime or apply 1 - 2 drops on the forehead.  For children also massage Lavender or Calming Blend on the bottoms of their feet.

For proper nutrition use the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) and additional magnesium and calcium if needed.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Shelly - My 8 year old son is bruxing (grinding teeth) at night.   I use oils on both of my boys regularly.  Last night I applied Lavender and Frankincense along his spine.  Even with that he had a particular bad night.   The teeth grinding had been going on for some time. I know I need to step up the frequency of application of oils.  Just wondering if anyone has experience with this ?

Cristi - I'm 31 and have been grinding my teeth for as long as there's been anyone around to hear me.  My husband says that it's gotten worse over time.  The frustrating thing about grinding your teeth while sleeping is that you have no control over it!  I grind through mouth guards in two weeks!  What has helped me the most is diffusing Calming Blend at bedtime.  My husband said that I grind much less frequently if it's being diffused.  Hope this helps!

Meredith - I have TMJ apparently from grinding my teeth at night. I tried Lavender, diffusing it every night, but it didn't help. I've now had surgery for it twice because it got so bad I couldn't eat. I'm still in a lot of pain and my jaw is constantly sore. Any suggestions?

Lynda - I've heard that diffusing Marjoram is supposed to be really good for that.

Pat - There are a number of oils that are known to help with TMJ and Lynda is correct in suggesting Marjoram, another one is Basil and Lemongrass, and the last person that talked to me regarding her TMJ used Frankincense for great relief.

Melissa - I have had terrible TMJ for years. It would painfully and very loudly pop every time I opened my mouth (or tried to do so) it got to the point I couldn't even open my mouth. I used Soothing Blend right on the joint. I've had to be very conscious about not clenching my jaw at all and persistent with Soothing Blend and my chiropractor actually has a little tool he adjusts my jaw with. Even he kept trying to get me to go to a specialist but said surgeries aren't generally too effective. So, after a lot of patience and persistence I am doing wonderfully. I can tell my jaw still seems slightly out of line but no more pain. Since you're grinding I would get a night guard for sure!

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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.