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Daily Grind! What is bruxism

I have worked with a number of clients recently who grind their teeth or clench their jaw. This is known as bruxism. Sometimes this is the reason they come for hypnotherapy, sometimes it is secondary (but often related) to the issue they want to resolve.


According to the Bruxism Association, it affects around 8-10% people. It occurs in both children and adults but is most common in 25-44 year olds. It is thought to have increased significantly during the pandemic - perhaps as much as a 20% rise. it is something that typically happens in the night while you’re sleeping, though it can also happen during the daytime. The most common symptom is headaches, often alongside sleep disruption, gum inflammation, earaches and jaw pain. If unresolved it can lead to serious tooth damage and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). If bruxism is an issue for you then it’s important that you see a dentist and get a diagnosis and treatment plan. To help with the condition they may recommend you:

  • cut back on alcohol

  • give up smoking

  • avoid using recreational drugs, such as ecstasy and cocaine

All things hypnotherapy can help with!


You may also be given a special mouth guard that stops you damaging your teeth. The causes of bruxism are not always clear, but it is thought around 70% of bruxism being caused by stress and anxiety. Having the condition itself can be stressful, making it worse - a vicious cycle. If the underlying cause of your teeth grinding is stress or anxiety, there are also many ways to help. Regular exercise and practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness or self-hypnosis could make a big difference. Also ensuring good sleep hygiene through a regular night-time routine will you rest and recuperate properly may also reduce the occurrence of tooth grinding. Hypnotherapy can help with relaxation and can also explore what is causing bruxism at an unconscious level. The action of clenching your jaw and/or grinding your teeth is an automatic unconscious behaviour - a habit – just like nail biting or hair pulling or other bad habits. Working together we can help understand what is causing the grinding and work to eliminate this unconscious behaviour.


To find out how hypnotherapy could help, get in touch.


Useful links

Malcolm Struthers Hypnotherapy - Online and in-person in Dumfries & Galloway