Bruxism or grinding of teeth is a common oral habit. It refers to the non-functional grinding of teeth or clenching of the jaw. It is a condition that usually occurs in children but not uncommon in adults. This condition mostly occurs at night, but children tend to exhibit the habit during the day as well. In many cases, bruxism is mild and causes no harm. But if it occurs on a regular basis, it can lead to various complications like a headache, earache, jaw pain, and dental damage. Homeopathic treatment for bruxism is very effective. Homeopathy medicines are constitutional medicines that treat a problem in a very gentle way. They help with symptoms like a headache, ear pain and jaw pain that arise due to the grinding of teeth and assist in reducing the risk of permanent dental damage caused by teeth grinding. Homeopathic medicines for bruxism are prepared from natural substances which have no side effects and are hence safe to use for all age groups. A detailed case taking should be done in instances of bruxism. This helps in finding the underlying cause leading to the grinding of teeth, which in turn, helps in identifying individual symptoms that will contribute to deciding which medicine to use.
Types of Bruxism
1. Awake bruxism: In this condition, the patient unconsciously clenches the teeth while awake. The clenching is more prominent than grinding.
2. Sleep bruxism: In this type of bruxism, the clenching or grinding occurs during sleep.
Causes for Bruxism
The factors leading to bruxism are not known. A combination of genetic, psychological and physical factors may be responsible for bruxism.
1. Awake bruxism – Causes for awake bruxism include stressful situations and an automatic reflex to deep concentration or emotions like anxiety, anger, tension, and frustration.
2. Sleep Bruxism – Stress or anxiety adversely affect sleep which may lead to sleep bruxism. Sleep bruxism is associated with other sleep disorders like snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea.
Grinding of Teeth in Children
There are two phases of teeth grinding in children
1. When their teeth emerge
2. When their permanent teeth set in
Most children lose the teeth grinding habit after that period. Other conditions in children that lead to teeth grinding include nutritional deficiencies, worm infestations, psychological factors like anxiety and stress, endocrine disorders, and incorrectly aligned teeth.
Risk Factors for Bruxism
1. Genetics. Sleep bruxism runs in members of the same family.
2. Aggressive or competitive persons are more at risk of developing bruxism.
3. Young children are at a higher risk than adults.
4. Constant stress or anxiety.
5. Side effect of antidepressants.
6. Caffeine-rich diet.
7. Excessive alcohol intake.
8. Tobacco smoking.
9. Disorders like epilepsy, ADHD, sleep-related disorders like sleep apnea, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
Persons who grind teeth while asleep are not even aware of this condition until the parents or spouse notice it. Symptoms of teeth grinding include dull headaches, especially in the temples, pain in the ear, facial pain, stiffness and pain in the jaw, difficulty in opening of the mouth, and disturbed sleep. Dental damage is another symptom and includes damage to the enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, tooth pain, flattening or chipping of teeth, loose teeth, fractured teeth, and injury to the inside of the cheek.
Homeopathic Medicines for Bruxism
1. Cina – For Grinding of Teeth in Children
Cina is useful a medicine for bruxism in children. In most cases, the grinding of teeth occurs during sleep at night. The child may also scream at night. In some cases, there is foul breath and frothy saliva. Sometimes, the child is highly irritable, ill-humored, and may tend to bite and strike others. Cina also works well in cases of teeth grinding because of worm infestation.
2. Santoninum – For Grinding of Teeth with Worm Infestation
Santoninum is an effective treatment for bruxism caused by worm infestation. It works well both for grinding as well as clenching of teeth during sleep. Restlessness during sleep may also be a symptom, along with an itchy nose and abdominal pains.
3. Chamomilla – For Bruxism in Angry Personalities
Chamomilla works well for patients prone to getting frequent fits of violent anger. Such individuals may be very obstinate and quarrelsome. They may also be sensitive to noise and pain. Chamomilla is a good treatment for bruxism in children during dentition.
4. Belladonna – For Bruxism with a Headache
Belladonna is very useful treatment for bruxism which is accompanied by a throbbing pain in the head. The patient’s face may turn red along with the headache, he may have mood swings, be forgetful, and suffer from mental confusion. The patient may also be restless and delirious.
5. Arsenic Album – For Bruxism with Anxiety
Arsenic Album is a highly effective medicine for bruxism in persons suffering from intense anxiety and restlessness. Such patients suffer from fears, cannot find rest in one place, and are prone to shifting places. These patients grind their teeth while asleep. Their teeth may seem longer and are very sensitive to pressure.
7. Plantago – For Bruxism with a Toothache and Tooth Sensitivity
Plantago is an effective treatment for bruxism in cases where teeth grinding occurs along with severe tooth pain and sensitivity. Grinding of teeth takes place at night. There may be a feeling of soreness in the teeth along with increased salivation. Sometimes, a pain in the ears may accompany the grinding of teeth.