Bruxism—a condition characterized by teeth clenching and grinding—is sometimes caused by stress, certain medications, and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. However, it is not widely known that magnesium deficiency can also lead to teeth grinding. Increasing your intake of magnesium for bruxism may be an effective treatment.
Magnesium is a nutrient that regulates muscle function, nerve function, and blood pressure. It also plays a role in regulating mood. It is found naturally in nature and in the body, but people can become magnesium deficient for many reasons.
Learn why magnesium deficiency is associated with bruxism, how to tell if you are magnesium deficient, and how to increase your magnesium intake below.
How Can Magnesium Help Bruxism?
Magnesium helps bruxism by relaxing the jaw muscles, particularly the small twitching muscles on the sides of the jaw. This, in turn, reduces jaw clenching.
Magnesium also plays a role in the central nervous system. The mineral can reduce anxiety and stress levels, which are common triggers of teeth grinding and clenching. A systemic review on the effects of magnesium for anxiety and stress found that magnesium is beneficial for populations that are vulnerable to anxiety (Boyle et al 2017).
If your bruxism is caused or exacerbated by anxiety and stress, magnesium can help bruxism by reducing that trigger.
Can Magnesium Deficiency Cause Teeth Grinding?
Researchers have found a strong connection between magnesium deficiency and bruxism (Ploceniak, 1990) (Lehvila, 1974). Scientists believe magnesium for bruxism plays an important role because it regulates muscle activity.
Magnesium helps muscles relax by competing with calcium, which makes muscles contract. A lack of magnesium, then, may cause you to unknowingly contract your jaw muscles, leading to clenching or grinding your teeth.
Magnesium deficiency can also impact bruxism indirectly. Magnesium deficiency is related to anxiety and stress, which are two of the main risk factors for bruxism. Thus, magnesium deficiency may be the root cause of both your anxiety and your bruxism.
When you unknowingly clench or grind your teeth, you may develop painful side effects such as jaw pain, facial pain, muscle cramps, worn tooth enamel, tooth sensitivity, and more.
In severe cases, bruxism can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which is also known as TMJ. TMJ is characterized by jaw joint dysfunction, and this disorder can worsen jaw clenching.
If bruxism or TMJ pain progresses, you may need a mouth guard to protect your teeth and take some pressure off your jaw. Failure to properly protect your teeth when you have bruxism or TMJ can lead to severe tooth damage and facial pain.
Another treatment option that may work if your bruxism is caused by magnesium deficiency is a muscle relaxant. Before you try any treatment option, be sure to speak to your dentist or healthcare provider.
How to Tell if You're Magnesium Deficient
Your healthcare provider can order a blood test to check your magnesium levels, but the results of blood tests for magnesium are not always conclusive.
A 2018 article in the journal Nutrients states, “Unfortunately, routinely measured serum magnesium levels do not always reflect total body magnesium status” (Razzaque, 2018). The author suggests a more accurate measure called the magnesium loading test. This test measures magnesium levels in urine over a 24 hour window.
Another way to tell if you are magnesium deficient is to monitor signs from your body. Early signs of magnesium deficiency often include fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite. Other signs may include muscle twitching, cramps, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure.
By monitoring your symptoms and working closely with your healthcare provider, you will be able to determine if you are magnesium deficient. Magnesium deficiency may be a result of many things.
What Causes Magnesium Deficiency?
If you are magnesium deficient, you are not alone. The medical term for magnesium deficiency is hypomagnesemia, and it’s estimated to affect 15-20% of the population in developed countries (DiNicolantonio et al 2018).
Magnesium in the body is mainly controlled by the kidneys. Sometimes, magnesium deficiency is caused by too much magnesium leaving the body through urine.
Other times, magnesium deficiency is caused by an inadequate intake of the mineral through your diet. Low magnesium levels have also been linked to older age, type 2 diabetes, and alcohol dependence.
Foods and Supplements With Magnesium
You can introduce more magnesium into your body in one of two ways: diet or supplements. It’s best to try to increase your intake via food before you try supplementation.
Magnesium-rich foods include:
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy greens
- Whole wheat
If you are not able to adequately increase your magnesium intake through food, speak to your healthcare provider before trying supplements. He or she can help you supplement magnesium safely and in the correct dosage.
While it is important to have enough magnesium in the body, too much magnesium can involve potential side effects. According to an article in the American Family Physician Journal, “Although it is safe in selected patients at appropriate dosages, magnesium may cause adverse effects or death at high dosages'' (Guerrera et al 2009). The Office of Dietary Supplements explains that the recommended daily supplemental magnesium intake for adult males is 410-420 mg while the recommended intake for adult females is 320 to 360 mg. Your healthcare provider will be able to help you avoid these severe side effects by closely monitoring you when you take the supplement.
You can find magnesium supplements in most grocery stores, drug stores, and online retailers such as Amazon.
Other Supplements that Reduce Teeth Grinding
Vitamin B5 For Bruxism
Vitamin B5 is another supplement that may help reduce stress, anxiety, and even panic attacks. If your teeth grinding is due to stress and anxiety, vitamin B5 may help. This vitamin is also a key player in adrenal function. When your adrenal glands aren’t functioning correctly, your body releases more cortisol, which can increase teeth grinding.
Vitamin B5 supplements are sold over-the-counter. You can also increase your vitamin B5 intake by eating foods such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grains
Calcium And Vitamin D For Teeth Grinding
Calcium and vitamin D supplementation may help with bruxism as well. A lack of calcium can cause bones to weaken, which can trigger bruxism.
A 2021 case-control study found that “Sleep bruxism was associated with vitamin D deficiency and low consumption of calcium and was also associated with increased scores of anxiety and depression” (Alkhatatbeh et al 2021). Again, increasing these nutrients may decrease anxiety as well as bruxism.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements are sold over the counter, and some supplements actually contain both substances. You can increase your calcium intake by eating foods such as:
You can increase your vitamin D intake by spending time in the sun as well as eating foods such as:
- Cod liver oil
Increasing your nutrients through your diet is an excellent way to improve your overall health and support your body. If supplementation and diet changes do not improve your bruxism, you may want to look into mouth guards or splints for teeth grinding, as they are one of the most common treatments.
Fixing Magnesium Deficiency Could Reduce Bruxism
Magnesium, a mineral that regulates muscle function and mood, may play a key role in bruxism. Early signs of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite. When you increase your magnesium intake through food or supplements, you may see a reduction in your bruxism symptoms.
While you’re waiting for bruxism symptoms to improve, a night guard is one of the most common forms of treatment for teeth clenching and grinding. At Pro Teeth Guard, you can get a custom-fit mouthguard at an affordable price. We make our night guards in a professional dental lab, and every night guard is guaranteed to fit comfortably with our 110% money-back guarantee.
- Alkhatatbeh, M. J., Hmoud, Z. L., Abdul-Razzak, K. K., & Alem, E. M. (2021). Self-reported sleep bruxism is associated with vitamin D deficiency and low dietary calcium intake: a case-control study. BMC oral health, 21(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12903-020-01349-3
- Boyle, N. B., Lawton, C., & Dye, L. (2017). The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 9(5), 429. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9050429
- DiNicolantonio, J. J., O'Keefe, J. H., & Wilson, W. (2018). Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open heart, 5(1), e000668. https://doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668
- Guerrera, M. P., Volpe, S. L., & Mao, J. J. (2009). Therapeutic uses of magnesium. American family physician, 80(2), 157–162. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19621856/
- Jones, T. (2019). 7 Healthy Foods That Are High in Vitamin D. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-foods-high-in-vitamin-d
- Lehvilä P. (1974). Bruxism and magnesium. Literature review and case reports. Proceedings of the Finnish Dental Society. Suomen Hammaslaakariseuran toimituksia, 70(6), 217–224. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4457918/
- NIH Writing Staff. (2021). Magnesium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
- Ploceniak C. (1990). Bruxisme et magnésium, mon expérience clinique depuis 1980 [Bruxism and magnesium, my clinical experiences since 1980]. Revue de stomatologie et de chirurgie maxillo-faciale, 91 Suppl 1, 127. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2130443/
- Potter, J. D., Robertson, S. P., & Johnson, J. D. (1981). Magnesium and the regulation of muscle contraction. Federation proceedings, 40(12), 2653–2656. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7286246/
- Razzaque M. S. (2018). Magnesium: Are We Consuming Enough?. Nutrients, 10(12), 1863. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121863
- SleepRight Writing Staff. (2018). Fighting Bruxism Naturally. SleepRight. https://www.sleepright.com/fighting-bruxism-naturally/