Grinding My Gears - Stress and Bruxism

When should you teeth touch one another? Only when you swallow.

We live increasingly fast-paced lives. Work quotas and home responsibilities coupled with a global pandemic and you have a recipe for stressed our citizen. This stress can manifest as alterations in mood, changes in eating habits and even as clenching and grinding teeth.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism involved grinding or clenching teeth. There are two forms of bruxism: awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. Sleep bruxism may be associated with other sleep conditions like snoring or sleep apnea.

The Dental Connection

Bruxism can lead to premature breakdown of our teeth, negatively impacting aesthetic, function and speech. Tension in muscles may lead to dull headaches around the temples. Bruxism associated damage to oral soft tissue may also occur.

Ways to Combat Bruxism

- Set up a memory cue. Each time you look at your designated memory cue, you must unclench your jaw and separate your teeth. Remember, our teeth should only touch (if they touch) when we swallow.

- Try serial muscle relation. Actively contract varying muscles in your face and relax them. Think of air, energy or relaxation passing through each muscle fiber. Focus on one part of your face at a time.

- Try acupuncture. Several studies have demonstrated that acupuncture may help reduce face and head pain. The research is premilitary, but there is a long-standing practice within some cultures to utilize this method. Always visit an experienced provider

- Try Botox. Botox can help reduce muscle activities in the strong muscles of the jaw. This treatment will reduce the force in the area, protect teeth and potentially reducing the severity and quantity of headaches. Botox is a treatment option for tension headaches as well.

- Mindfulness habits. Deep breathing exercises, body movements and journaling can help boost your mood and provide stress relief. Visiting a therapist to get to the root cause of stress and develop healthy coping strategies is also an option.

Other Causes

Other causes of bruxism include age, personality type, medications and a hereditary predisposition to developing bruxism.

Sources Related to Acupuncture and Bruxism

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