Dentist to the stars reveals his top tips to stop teeth grinding

How YOU can stop grinding your teeth for good: Harley Street dentist reveals the tricks to cure the uncomfortable habit – from doing tongue exercises to having Botox in your jaw

  • Lockdown stress has led to more people grinding their teeth
  • Dr Marques, based on Harley Street, says teeth grinding is an increasing issue
  • Here, Dr Richard Marques, tells FEMAIL how teeth grinding can be prevented 

It’s a painful habit that’s often hard to kick but unfortunately lockdown anxiety is leading to a rise in teeth grinding, according to a leading celebrity dentist.

Dr Richard Marques, based on Harley Street in London, and whose clients include Rita Ora and Jamie Redknapp, says teeth grinding is an increasing issue which he’s been treating throughout the pandemic. 

Here, Dr Richard, known in his industry as the ‘King Of Smiles’, tells FEMAIL the causes and dangers of teeth grinding, as well as how it can be prevented – including at-home and with professional help. 

Some of the simpler methods including avoiding caffeine, alcohol and chewing gum or enjoying a hot bath before bed. While botox and acupuncture are also suggested.

It’s a painful habit that’s often hard to kick, but unfortunately lockdown anxiety is leading to a lot more of us grinding our teeth, according to a leading celebrity dentist. (Stock photo)

1. Wear a custom mouthguard

‘This is especially helpful at night to stop your teeth from grinding together whilst you sleep, as well as reducing the strain on your jaw,’ the dentist said.

‘Your dentist will be able to custom make a bite guard that is moulded to fit your teeth which is the most comfortable option, or you can get generic guards over the counter.’

2. Try to ease stress with meditation

‘Stress is one of the main causes of teeth grinding. Our bodies often react to stress in a physical way, and teeth grinding can often be the result of built up nervous tension. 

Why do people grind their teeth and why is it often painful? 

Dr Richard Marques explains why people grind their teeth and why it can often be painful: 

‘When we are extremely stressed, we often subconsciously tighten certain muscles including those in our jaws – causing them to clench, which then leads to both rows of teeth grinding together. 

‘It is acknowledged that most people who grind their teeth are doing so subconsciously, being unaware they are causing damage. Grinding often happens during sleep or whilst you are concentrating on something.

‘When you grind your teeth, increased pressure is put onto the “hinge” of your jaw that sits directly below your ears.

‘This can ultimately lead to pain or discomfort in your ears because the structures of this joint are very close to the ear canal. 

‘Bruxism, commonly referred to as grinding, can also cause excess pain in your face after you chew, talk, or yawn.’ 

‘Whilst easier said than done, particular in today’s climate, there are plenty of ways to help combat daily stress. Try practising meditation or yoga, and try to get your body moving for at least 15 minutes a day to release happy endorphins.’

3. Do tongue and jaw muscle exercises

‘These can help relax the jaw and facial muscles and maintain proper alignment. These can be done easily at home: open your mouth wide while touching your tongue to your front teeth. 

‘Say the letter “N” out loud – this will keep your top and bottom teeth from touching and help you avoid clenching. You can also try gently massaging your jaw to loosen up the muscles.’

4. Get Botox jabs

‘Surprisingly, it has been found that small amounts of Botox injected into the masseter – the muscle that moves the jaw – can be used to relax the jaw muscles.

‘This reduces the frequency of grinding, as well as reducing the pain caused as a result of it including headache and earache. Always go to a professional for this.’

5. Give acupuncture a try

‘Acupuncture is known to reduce muscular tension and calm the nervous system, and can help with jaw clenching and teeth grinding in a natural and holistic way. Always talk to a professional when trying this.’

6. Have a hot bath before bed

‘Warm water can help relax your muscles, so a hot bath before bed can help not only your mind, but your jaw muscles to let go of tension before sleep.

‘Try soaking a cloth in warm water and holding it against your jaw if you’re experiencing any pain – moist heat penetrates better.’

7. Undergo behavioural therapy 

‘Biofeedback can be used to help eliminate the behavioural aspect of teeth grinding. A therapist will teach you how to control your jaw muscle movements through visual, vibratory, or auditory feedback. 

‘Though research on its effectiveness for teeth grinding is limited, there is evidence to suggest it can help when used alongside other traditional methods. Always consult a professional for this.’

The food and drink you should avoid to stop teeth grinding 

1. Caffeine 

‘Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can lead to poor sleep and cause an increase in grinding at night,’ the celebrity dentist said.

‘The stimulant effects of caffeine can last for up to six hours after its consumed, promoting muscle activity whilst you sleep and causing you to wake in the night.’

2. Alcohol 

‘Similarly, alcohol is also known to break up sleep patterns and can trigger the muscles to become hyperactive, increasing the risk of grinding.’

3. Chewing gum 

‘Also avoid chewing gum as it allows your muscles to get used to overworking and clenching. 

‘This creates muscle memory for your jaw meaning you’re more likely to clench when you’re not chewing. 

‘It also puts excessive strain on the muscles, so opt for a mint instead!’

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