Bruxism & TMJ pain: suggested nontoxic cures & natural remedies
Mercury detox, geopathic stress, psychological and energetic approaches, nutritional therapy
This page lists suggestions and documents non-invasive ways in which to successfully address the (mostly) "gnightly gnashing of teeth" called by the poetic name of bruxism :-).
According to Dr. med. Dietrich Klinghardt M.D., Ph.D. and other researchers, the neurotoxic mercury from dental amalgam fillings escapes via nervous pathways into other parts of the body, particularly the brain. Quote from a lecture by Dietrich Klinghardt M.D., Ph.D. and Dr. Patricia Kane Ph.D. held at the ETH Zurich in April 2003 (© translation by Healing Teeth Naturally, 2008):
"[Mercury's] normal pathway ... is via the trigeminal nerve which innervates all your teeth. The mercury enters and wanders to the trigeminal ganglion. This ganglion not only innervates teeth but also various masticatory muscles. The symptoms some people exhibit at night, the chewing and grinding of teeth, in most cases are caused by the poisoning of the trigeminal ganglion with mercury. The mouth of these people simply needs to be detoxified, and the chewing will stop." Compare Dr. med. Dietrich Klinghardt M.D., Ph.D. On Effective Holistic Heavy Metal Detoxification (Chelation).
Apart from any physical causes (such as malocclusion etc.), bruxism has been linked to emotional factors such as anxiety, stress (at work, in one's profession etc.), irregular work shifts, tension, depression and ineffective coping strategies. It makes a lot of sense that the body will try to discharge some of its accumulated frustration at night via grinding its teeth. In fact I have seen it suggested to use chewing gum to get rid of anger at one's boss if there isn't a more direct way to find relief (see Toothache can be triggered by continuous stress leading to bruxism). Similarly, a tight jaw can be somewhat relieved by chewing hard items such as raw carrots etc.
There are various relaxation routines (such as listening to guided meditations) that could help release the tension in the jaw area as well as introducing positive suggestions (e.g. before going to sleep) regarding restful sleep without teeth grinding.
Even hypnotherapy can be successful at stopping teeth grinding by working with the subconscious to relieve stress, erase old and implant new patterns (as usual, great care in choosing whom to work with seems advisable if this approach is of interest to you).
Moderate exercise helps to reduce tension and pain and triggers the release of "feel-good" chemicals in the brain.
According to dentist Joel Knapp of Hendersonville, Tennessee, bruxism can be easily cured using supplements. He writes, "bruxism, or teeth grinding, also responds to nutritional therapy. A woman came in here who had taken her son all over the place looking for some help. He had head X-rays and orthodontic advice, but he was still grinding his teeth smooth, keeping the whole house awake at night. and he would wake up tired, too, in the morning. I put this child on B complex and dolomite [natural calcium magnesium carbonate], one tablet of each one hour before bed. The bruxism was gone that very night."2
Generally speaking, magnesium alone should be worth a try (such as applying magnesium oxide transdermally by simply mixing the crystals with water and applying the resultant oily fluid to the skin) because magnesium is a mineral which many individuals seem to be deficient in.
A TMJ sufferer reported that she found cod liver oil (a rich source of Vitamin A and D) in capsules the most helpful.
Dentist Dr. Graeme Munro-Hall writes in his highly recommended book "Toxic Dentistry Exposed", "Sugar is the prime culprit for causing jaw muscle spasm. My own daughter ground her baby teeth to the gumline; every night you could hear the grinding. Getting rid of sugar from her diet, albeit with difficulty, stopped her from grinding at night almost immediately. The grinding action is one way muscles show they are in spasm."
Remove geopathic / technopathic stress and electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
For background on what geopathic stress is, how it can affect the body and how to remedy it, see for instance www.healingcancernaturally.com/geopathic-stress-and-cancer.html and www.healingcancernaturally.com/electromagnetic-fields-protection.html. Living/working/sleeping in a place affected by geopathic stress has been associated with nightly teeth grinding as well as (at least - and powerfully so - anecdotally1) with tooth decay and other dental/gum problems! Geopathic stress (from underground sources) apparently is stronger at night. One (not necessarily correct) suggested explanation for its triggering effect on tooth grinding is that it overstimulates the nerves of the teeth. In any case, geopathic stress seems to have a weakening effect on our immune system (possibly even more pronounced in children) and taking measures to avoid or protect oneself against it is an essential part of personal health care in my eyes.
Earthing / Grounding
Similar to the above, the book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? by Ober / Sinatra reports on three individuals with TMJ pain who experienced less discomfort after they began to sleep grounded. Another person even maintained that their TMJ problem had significantly improved. The reason might be, as observed by a fifth individual, that they actually stopped clenching their jaw at night.
Doctor of Dental Medicine Chuck Munier confirmed that his patients with acute temporomandibular joint or jaw pain and/or bruxism (as well as snoring, sleep disturbances and other symptoms) have greatly benefited from earthing. Patients with acute TMJ symptoms were helped by an Earthing patch placed over the offending joint, while Earthing bands worn on the head during sleep resulted in better sleep, less bruxism and snoring, and remarkably, an opening of the sinus passages so that nose breathing during sleep was improved. That said, chronic states were slower to respond than acute ones. (Posted at the Earthing Institute's website in 2012)
Earthing / grounding is said to cancel out the detrimental effects of EMFs. More on earthing e.g. at earthing.com.
Happily (but somewhat surprisingly), a mere 2 1/2 minutes of oil pulling, a simple and easy-to-do hygienic health practice, has given immediate jaw pain relief to a long-time TMJ and fibromyalgia sufferer (see her report at Oil pulling under "Oil pulling and dental pain: sample testimonials").
Since TMJ (in fact many types of) pain are likely to occur when the body's energy pathways (meridians) are blocked or impaired, any technique that addresses the blockage and assists the normal flow of energy to be reestablished will have a beneficial effect.
EFT, Jin Shin Jyutsu etc.
"Emotional acupressure" self-help techniques such as Jin Shin Jyutsu and EFT may be effective at permanently releasing stress, tension and conflicted emotions held in the jaw and neck.
In fact, a further development of EFT called FasterEFT has reported (at www.fastereftcases.com/sample-page/hearing/tinnitus/ ) a dramatic cure of TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) plus unrelenting 24/7 tinnitus of a whopping 35 years standing. The person concerned had tried a wide variety of conventional and alternative treatments before, with only FasterEFT providing lasting results.
A dramatic TMJ healing testimonial available online describes the case of a woman who owing to stress and the resultant habit of continual jaw clenching and teeth grinding, developed excruciatingly painful TMJ dysfunction. The pain was so bad it made her wake up at night and prevented her from eating anything that needed to be chewed. A mere five weeks of receiving once-weekly treatment by an acupuncturist was enough for her pain to be gone for good and never to return, in fact, she was able to chew solid food again within days of her very first acupuncture session. In this case, the insertion of acupuncture needles into the blocked energy meridian(s) allowed the held tension to be released and normal function to be reestablished.
Various yoga poses help to relax the body and increase circulation to any painful area.
Although homeopathic remedies typically are prescribed for the individual and not for any generic disease (i.e. two persons with the same disease and symptoms may be prescribed two completely different homeopathic remedies), here are some "generic" homeopathic remedies I've found recommended for bruxism at holistic dentist Dr. Bill Wolfe's site www.drwolfe.com:
- Belladonna: for grinding problem that causes painful teeth.
- Podophyllum: for night grinding when experiencing a burning sensation of the tongue.
- Tuberculinum: for children who grind their teeth.
To prevent "cancelling out" the medical effect of homeopathic medication, compare "Antidotes" to homeopathic remedies: something to be aware of and avoid.
Apparently, even worms or other parasites can be a culprit in triggering nightly teeth grinding. Dr. Hulda Clark for instance writes that pinworms can lead to tooth grinding and contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.2
Heat or cold treatment
Similar to some toothaches, TMJ pain may yield to the application of hot or cold items (or alternating the two).3
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain
MSM is an organic compound containing sulfur which naturally occurs in small amounts in a number of foods as well as in the human body (and other places). MSM is credited with a number of beneficial properties such as working as an analgesic (pain killer), anti-inflammatory, increasing blood supply, reducing muscle spasms and softening scar tissue. Drs Jacob and Lawrence have described a dramatic case of TMJ dysfunction with excruciating pain upon chewing anything harder than baby food which likely had been brought on by a lifelong habit of nightly teeth grinding. What helped the patient in question was using MSM as a daily supplement and applying MSM lotion or gel to the painful joint. According to the same authors, the amounts required vary according to the severity of the case. They also mention that this patient preferred to avoid oral surgery since statistically speaking, the majority of operations were follow-ups performed to repair previous surgeries.
Judging by an anecdotal report published on earthclinic.com/Remedies/borax6.html, it may be worth trying borax (for a detailed background article on this unusual but apparently powerful remedy for arthritis, osteoporosis and perhaps even tooth decay, see e.g. www.health-science-spirit.com/borax.htm ). The person concerned had suffered from a combination of illnesses including fibromyalgia, rosacea, chronic fatigue and TMJ for 10+years which after numerous trials and errors she attributed to fluoride toxicity. Drinking 1/8 teaspoon of borax plus 1/8 teaspoon of pure sea salt in a litre of dechlorinated water for five days per week, she experienced "miraculous" improvements within 14 days.
Breathing through the nose
According to holistic dentist Dr. Raymond Silkman, DDS, even mouth breathing can induce TMJ pain.
Holistic dentist, Chiropractic, Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT), cranial osteopathy, NUCCA, Bowen technique, craniosacral therapy, Theraflex etc.
These are some other paid services on offer that might help you. I would advise to carefully look for reputable practitioners before engaging with any one of them (compare for instance Beware of fake alternative and/or holistic dentists [they can harm you]).
Background and more bruxism and TMJ dysfunction treatment suggestions
1 ... in the extraordinary testimonial of a person I read on one of Lynne McTaggart's "What Doctors Don't Tell You" forums who had dreadful problems with his teeth, both infections and tooth decay, as a child, then enjoyed many years of good dental health but later, developed problems again. The common denominator he was able to pin down in retrospect was that when living over geopathic stress, he had dental decay and other problems, while enjoying healthy teeth and gums when living without the impact of geopathic stress!