Did you know that 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. In fact, during the period of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the entire body should be paralysed except for the eye muscles.
If your jaw is clenching or grinding, you are certainly not paralysed. 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.
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?
- If you’re 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.
- Have your blood checked for 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.
- 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 clenching and grinding is caused by anxiety and stress?
Content courtesy of Dr. John Campise.