During most of the night, all of the muscles of the body should be limp except during brief times of turning over or moving to a new position (natural bed sore prevention). In fact, during the period of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the entire body should be paralyzed except for the eye muscles.
If your jaw is clenching or grinding, you are certainly not paralyzed. Many things contribute to the tendency to clench and grind, but one thing above all else allows it to even happen in the first place: calcium deficiency.
Without enough calcium, muscles have a very difficult time relaxing. The best source of dietary calcium is greens, followed by veggies, nuts and seeds, and fruit. (Milk causes mucus in the gut which in some cases can actually prevent the absorption of calcium.)
A diet low in variety of plant foods will not only be low in calcium but most of the other minerals. Just like we learned in my article about alkaline water, minerals make us healthily alkaline.
But what about those eating a great diet full of plants providing lots of calcium and minerals who still have problems with clenching and grinding? Or even those who take a calcium pill daily but still have trouble with jaw tension?
Calcium can’t be absorbed without vitamin D. With proper vitamin D levels, a calcium pill isn’t needed, the body will absorb plenty of calcium from a plant rich diet.
So how do I stop my jaw clenching and grinding?
1) If not eating a varied diet full of lots of plant foods (grains like bread, rice, pasta, cereal, don’t count), then start to do so.
2) check your blood levels of vitamin D. Increase your mid-day sun exposure, UVB light therapy, or vitamin D oral intake. Then every 6 weeks recheck your blood until D levels are close to 80 ng/ml.
3) It may take several months to get your D levels to 80, in the mean time take a calcium supplement (250 mg to 1000 mg daily). Increase the dose until you sleep better, feel more relaxed, and jaw feels no tension. Once D levels reach 80, wean off the calcium (continue good diet).
What if my D levels won’t come up no matter how much D I take?
This usually means your liver is congested. The D you make from the sun or get from a vitamin has to be converted by the liver before it will show up on the blood test. Clean your body using the tips in my article about cleansing here.
My dentist says I need a bite plate to prevent clenching or at least save my teeth from being worn down from the grinding. Do I still need the bite plate if I fix my diet, calcium and D status?
Most likely not. I am not a dentist, but if you are no longer grinding, why would you need the bite plate? But ultimately it is a better question for your dentist. Please see my articles on dental crowns everyone should read before having another crown installed and before having another root canal here and here.
What if my clenching and grinding is caused by anxiety and stress?
Calcium and D can lower anxiety and body tension due to stress, but if it persists after taking the above steps, then other trace minerals may be deficient that would need to be temporarily supplemented until balanced. Also, lack of direct sunlight on the skin can lead to both depression and anxiety on a biochemical level. You may need to do regular sun bathing or light therapy in order to correct the anxiety and overactive stress response. If that doesn’t work then proper slow aerobic exercise (avoiding high intensity) may be needed as described here. And if that doesn’t work, you may need some NET treatments at my office, or talk therapy to learn stress coping skills.
Yours in health,
Dr.Campise : )
559 930 1034