Teeth Grinding, Mouth Breathing and The Tongue Connection

Teeth Grinding, Mouth Breathing and The Tongue Connection
Dr. John C. Moon Dentist Half Moon Bay, California

Dr. John Moon was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in San Mateo area. Dr. Moon graduated from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry in 1999. His undergraduate education was completed at the University of California, Berkeley where he majored in molecular and cell biology. Dr. Moon... more

Teeth grinding can lead to teeth sensitivity, worn enamel, and tooth fracture, which may require extensive dental treatment such as root canal therapy and crowns. Many people grind their teeth during the night or daytime and don't even realize it. Some people grind due to daily stress, habit, and even during exercising and driving. The simple dental treatment is to wear a mouth guard during the time you grind your teeth whether daytime or during sleep. But, a better natural way is recognizing the resting position of the tongue and breathing through the nose.

The tongue determines whether you will breathe through the nose or mouth. When the tongue's resting position is on the palate, this signals the brain to breathe through the nose since the mouth is naturally closed. The tongue's resting position on the palate behind the upper front teeth is the correct natural position, and the tongue acts like a natural mouth guard preventing the teeth from touching or grinding. You can practice by doing a simple swallow and you will see the tongue naturally goes up to the palate at the end of the swallow. Breathing through the nose is also much more healthy, and this will also prevent snoring and possibly sleep apnea.

When the tongue falls down to the floor of the mouth, this naturally opens the mouth, which causes mouth breathing. Mouth breathing leads to snoring, sleep apnea, and teeth grinding. When the tongue's resting position is on the floor of the mouth, there is nothing to stop the teeth from touching or grinding. If you think you grind or snore, practice during the day by placing the tip of the tongue on the palate and try to breathe through the nose. If you can make this a good habit during the day, you can have a much better chance to change while sleeping too. Mouth breathing also leads to dry mouth, which is another topic of discussion. Please visit your dentist for further diagnosis, evaluation and a good personal treatment plan.