Lavender essential oil
Sure, lavender smells good. But the alluring scent also has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system. Just think of all those lotions and oils labelled “relaxing” that you see in the beauty aisle. Here’s a trick to try if you’re constantly grinding your teeth (also called bruxism) at night from Pat Brunson, a massage therapist: “Put a couple of drops in a small spray bottle of either distilled or reverse osmosis water,” she suggests. “Then right before bedtime, spritz a couple of sprays on each side of your pillow where it can be inhaled as you are drifting off to sleep, and the lavender essential oil will relax your body so the facial muscles relax more as well.”
You might feel awkward at first when you hit the hay looking like a hockey player, but a custom-made bite splint to wear overnight can reduce grinding and prevent damage to teeth. When done at the dentist’s office, your dentist (or her staff) takes impressions of your teeth and a bite guard is made to fit perfectly. You can also DIY one if you’re looking to save money. To make your own, purchase a high quality dental sports guard, shares Peter Drews, DDS, MAGD. “Once the device is molded to your mouth, trim the guard short so it covers your canine teeth on each side. This way, the back teeth do not touch when their teeth are together.” As a result, the anterior teeth get overloaded and the natural reflex of muscle relaxation occurs.” (Find out the Easiest Way to Get Rid of Bad Breath, According to a Dentist.)
If you find yourself instinctively clenching your jaws, warming up may just be the answer. This method is best done using a heating pad; while lying down, rest one side of your face on a heating pad for 15 minutes, then repeat on the other side. The heat increases the local blood supply, improves circulation, and helps relax the muscles. According to Mazen Natour DMD, Manhattan-based prosthodontist, “Heat helps relax the muscles and may alleviate tension, reducing the potentially destructive grinding.”
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