Bruxism and CBD: How CBD can Help in the Treatment of Bruxism

Treatment of bruxism with osteopathy and CBD

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is a disorder where a person involuntarily clenches or grinds his or her teeth, which involves repetitive activation of the jaw muscles. Recently, several studies have shown the potential of CBD to address a variety of conditions, including bruxism.

In today’s Cannactiva post, Eva Federici, osteopath, physiotherapist, sexologist and founder of the ReActiva Sants center, explains in depth what bruxism is, possible causes and resources to treat it, including the possible use of CBD.

Definition of bruxism: More than just clenching teeth

Normally, clenching the teeth serves a vital function when chewing or biting food. However, in bruxism, this act becomes a functional disorder, a repetitive activity that is not useful for our body. This disorder involves an abnormality in oral functions, especially affecting the muscles and joints of the face.

Our wise body, once again, provides us with clues that something is not working properly. Bruxism is not only an unnecessary waste of energy, but can also cause complications such as tooth wear, temporomandibular joint problems, facial and neck pain, as well as other issues related to oral health, posture and general well-being. This is why it requires a professional approach.

If you wake up in the morning with a tense or sore face, stiff neck region or headache, you may be experiencing bruxism. Similarly, if you notice that during the day you keep your teeth very closed, you may be suffering from daytime bruxism. In that case, it is important to address the underlying cause. (1)

Causes: Why does bruxism occur?

Bruxism can have different causes:

  1. Purely psychosomatic: a physical response to emotional or psychological stress.
  2. Only due to dental malocclusion, because of the way the teeth grow.
  3. Post-traumatic: after head trauma, whiplash or a blow to the face.
  4. Arthrosis: related to wear and tear of the cartilage of the temporomandibular joint.
  5. Multifactorial: a combination of two or more of these causes.

Treatment of bruxism

When a person suffering from bruxism visits my osteopathic practice, I always consider these five aspects during the initial assessment or anamnesis to identify the underlying cause and not limit myself to treating only the symptom.

I can state with certainty that 90% of the bruxism consultations I receive in my clinic in Barcelona have a strong stress component. Indeed, the most frequent cause of bruxism is psychosomatic (2), a physical manifestation of emotional or psychological stress, and can be frequent in industrialized countries, and even more so in large cities.

Just because it is psychosomatic does not mean that it is not real, or that the symptoms are not genuine and require attention. Understanding why we clench our teeth in times of stress is essential. In these cases, although a natural reaction to a stressor, bruxism can become a problem when it persists beyond the initial stressful event, establishing a cycle of dysfunctional tension and relaxation. We can illustrate this psychosomatic cause as follows. Ask yourself, “Who do I want to bite?” , “What am I fighting against?” “What situation am I accepting against my will?”

Conventional treatment

Conventional treatment typically focuses on relieving symptoms and preserving tooth structure through the use of mouth guards or dental splints, as well as through botulinum toxin(botox) injections or other physical approaches.

Dental splint for bruxism
Dental splint for bruxism.

Although addressing the physical component with jaw physiotherapy and osteopathy can provide muscle relief with non-invasive techniques and prevent tooth wear, it is essential to consider a holistic approach involving both body and mind, especially in cases of bruxism of psychosomatic origin.

Endodontic bruxism is also relatively common. In the search for ideal dental esthetics, treatments are sometimes resorted to that can have repercussions on the back, posture and, of course, jaw tension, which can lead to bruxism of mechanical origin. It should be understood that a perfectly symmetrical dental occlusion is unrealistic, and forced treatments can cause imbalances in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), affecting the mandibular and cervical muscles, which could lead to bruxism of mechanical origin. When orthodontics is really necessary to achieve a functional occlusion and you experience tensions in the face and neck, you will be surprised how much osteopathy and CBD can help you in this process.

When bruxism is post-traumatic or arthritic, osteopathic cervico-cranio-mandibular techniques can be used to restore mechanical balance after trauma, or to reduce inflammation in case of osteoarthritis.

Natural and/or complementary treatments for bruxism

Lifestyle and therapies for bruxism

  • Osteopathy: As an osteopath, my approach includes breaking the cycle of jaw tension and contraction and guiding the patient in the management of bruxism. This is achieved through specific treatments such as mandibular osteopathy. CBD creams and oils can be used in these treatments, which we discuss in depth in the following section. In addition, osteopathy focuses not only on the jaw, but also on the nervous system, breathing and posture. Jaw physiotherapy can be of great help to specifically relax the jaw muscles. Physical therapy for bruxism should be complemented with other physical and lifestyle therapies.
  • Physical activity: When you are experiencing a high level of stress, your body needs to release that tension, and exercise is an excellent option.
  • Postural education, body awareness and breathing exercises: yoga or pilates are useful resources to deeply connect with your body.
  • Relaxation practices: meditation, reading a book you like, resting more hours, avoiding activities you don’t enjoy, or connecting with something that really relaxes you, all these options favor the production of dopamine, endorphins and endocannabinoids, which are natural muscle relaxants.
  • Strategic behavioral therapy: working with cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy is an effective way to acquire strategic tools to manage stress in the present.
Dosage of CBD oil drops
CBD oil drops. CBD has analgesic, anxiolytic properties and has been used to improve sleep and reduce stress.

Potential Benefits of CBD in Bruxism

CBD or cannabidiol is a component extracted from cannabis with analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic properties. Unlike THC, the major compound in marijuana, CBD has no psychoactive effects.

This component has been studied for its properties for neuropathic pain, for improving sleep and for anxiety. Research suggests that CBD is of interest to those who suffer from nocturnal bruxism and are looking to improve their overall well-being.

How does CBD work in the treatment of bruxism?

By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD can regulate various physiological functions, including stress response, pain and inflammation. These properties of CBD offer a promising avenue for reducing anxiety and stress, factors in the development of psychosomatic bruxism in primis, but also pain and other bruxism-related causes.

Scientific study on CBD for bruxism

In a parallel double-blind study, it was observed that the group that applied a topical CBD preparation to the masseter muscle experienced a marked reduction in involuntary muscle activity and a significant improvement in myofascial pain, commonly associated with bruxism. This myorelaxant effect of CBD is especially relevant, as bruxism often involves clenching and grinding of teeth due to tension in the masseter muscles. In addition, patients reported a considerable decrease in pain intensity, suggesting that CBD not only relaxes muscles but also effectively relieves pain related to this condition.

The ease of application of the treatment, twice daily for 14 days, and the positive results obtained reinforce the potential of CBD as a promising therapeutic option for the treatment of bruxism (3).

Jaw physiotherapy with CBD

Whatever the cause of bruxism, it is important to break the tension-contraction-tension cycle. In addition to professional treatment, I recommend you follow a pattern of self-relaxation of the jaw using CBD cream or a massage oil with CBD and soothing botanical extracts.

CBD creams are applied directly to the jaw or neck and provide localized relief by reducing inflammation and relaxing tense muscles.

You will experience a sense of relief from the first application. Perform this exercise routine 1 to 3 times a day for two weeks.

Physiotherapy exercises for bruxism and CBD
Physiotherapy exercises for bruxism and CBD

CBD oil dosage for bruxism

It is not possible to mention a dose of CBD that serves to treat bruxism. In the study mentioned above, a topical preparation with CBD applied for two weeks, twice daily, was used with positive results.

As for the use of CBD drops, these have become popular in recent years as a natural solution for anxiety or nervousness problems. While the topical route acts in a localized way, the effect of CBD taken orally is more generalized, acting on the whole organism. However, please note that the oral use of CBD products is currently not regulated in many European countries, including Spain. Formerly, the sale of CBD oil for sublingual use was allowed, but in 2018 the legislation changed. For this reason, Cannactiva products are legally intended for external use. CBD oil can also be used externally by massaging the CBD drops into the skin.

In general, it is recommended to use full-spectrum CBD oil, which retains all the components of the original plant and its benefits.

As for the optimal dose of CBD, in the use of cannabis it is recommended to “start low and go slow“, which means to start with a low amount, and gradually increase it, if necessary.

Much research has been done on the uses of CBD oil for anxiety, and we recommend reading the article on CBD for anxiety and the benefits of CBD.

How to incorporate CBD into your bruxism relief routine

Incorporating CBD into your bruxism relief routine can be a gradual and personalized process. The first and essential thing is to get in the hands of a health professional to treat bruxism. Tell him/her of your intention to use CBD, and allow him/her to supervise the treatment. Here are some suggestions to get you started effectively:

Addresses the causes of bruxism

It is crucial to identify the cause of your bruxism. Various approaches can help, such as osteopathy, dentistry, psychotherapy or dentosophy. It is always essential to use professionals who take a multidisciplinary approach.

Start with low CBD doses

When introducing CBD into your routine, it is advisable to start with low doses. This allows you to observe your body’s reaction and helps you identify the right dosage for your needs. Remember that the holistic approach, combining other therapies, will enhance the beneficial effects of CBD in reducing bruxism.

Evaluate the frequency

The frequency of use will depend on your symptoms and objectives. Some may prefer to take CBD daily, while others may choose to use it only at times of increased stress or before bedtime. Experiment with different schedules and see when you get the best results.

Recommended book on bruxism

You have probably already heard some of the ideas mentioned throughout the text. That’s why we like to give not only recommendations, but also recommended related reading. Knowing more closely, reading and reflecting on our symptom, can make us more aware of its origin and bring us closer to its treatment.

If you feel like it, I think it might be interesting to read: Dentosophy: Our teeth, a door to health. From oral balance to global health.

Conclusions

With this article, my goal is to provide you with greater empowerment in your understanding of the body. Remember that the body is wise, and pain and tension are ways of communicating to you that something is not working properly. In the hectic daily routine of life, we often ignore or silence the signals our body sends us. It is important to learn to be grateful for each of these signs and to take care of our body, which is our only true home.

Note: This is an informational article and is not intended to prevent, diagnose or treat any disease. Its contents may complement, but should never replace, any diagnosis or treatment of any disease or symptom. Cannactiva products are not medicines and are intended for external use. The author and Cannactiva are not responsible for any misuse of this information. Please note that there may be new developments since the date of publication. Therefore, consult your doctor before using CBD.

References
  1. Lavigne GJ, Khoury S, Abe S, Yamaguchi T, Raphael K. Bruxism physiology and pathology: an overview for clinicians. J Oral Rehabil. 2008 Jul;35(7):476-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2008.01881.x. PMID: 18557915.
  2. Kuhn M, Türp JC. Risk factors for bruxism. Swiss Dent J. 2018 Feb 12;128(2):118-124. PMID: 29533049.
  3. Nitecka-Buchta A, Nowak-Wachol A, Wachol K, Walczyńska-Dragon K, Olczyk P, Batoryna O, Kempa W, Baron S. Myorelaxant Effect of Transdermal Cannabidiol Application in Patients with TMD: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial. J Clin Med. 2019 Nov 6;8(11):1886. doi: 10.3390/jcm8111886. PMID: 31698733; PMCID: PMC6912397.
  4. Mona, B. CBD for TMJ: Can It Help? Healthline. Edited by Chelsea Logan, medical review by Dominique Fontaine, BSN, RN, HNB-BC, HWNC-BC, and copy editing by Jen Anderson. https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-for-tmj
  5. Lavigne GJ, Khoury S, Abe S, Yamaguchi T, Raphael K. Bruxism physiology and pathology: an overview for clinicians. J Oral Rehabil. 2008 Jul;35(7):476-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2008.01881.x. PMID: 18557915.
  6. Kuhn M, Türp JC. Risk factors for bruxism. Swiss Dent J. 2018 Feb 12;128(2):118-124. PMID: 29533049.

Eva Federici
Physiotherapist, Osteopath specialized in gynecology, Sexologist. Founder of the ReActiva Sants Center

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