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Your questions answered

MagazineJuly 1996 (Vol. 7 Issue 4)Your questions answered

Q:Is there a cure for teeth grinding at night? I am being driven crazy by my husband's steadily worsening teeth grinding in his sleep, and he is audibly damaging his teeth

Q:Is there a cure for teeth grinding at night? I am being driven crazy by my husband's steadily worsening teeth grinding in his sleep, and he is audibly damaging his teeth. One year ago, he broke his jaw in two places, cracking the hinge and losing

A:According to our panellist Jack Levenson, one common cause of teeth grinding is an imbalance of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that is, an imbalance of the joint in front of your ears. If TMJ is the problem, it results in an imbalanced bite, causing the "scraping" at night. Your husband should first be checked out by a dentist skilled in handling TMJ problems, who normally fits a bite plate in plastic over the teeth to see if it helps. If it does, the dentist adds onlays over the existing teeth to alter the bite.

However, that may not be the whole story. In most cases, night grinding is caused by magnesium deficiency or an imbalance between calcium and magnesium levels, causing permanent tenseness in the muscles surrounding the joint.

This might fit in with your comments that his problem is worse after stress in the office. But mercury toxicity, causing muscle spasm, can also result in night grinding. Jack Levenson has seen many cases of tooth grinding relating strictly to mercury, which of course can also block magnesium absorption.


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