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Teeth Grinding and Stress
Teeth Grinding and Stress

Research has shown a direct correlation between stress and grinding your teeth. In the short term, teeth grinding – also known as bruxism – most often results in restless sleep – for both you and your partner. But over time, bruxism cam lead to facial and jaw pain, tooth aches and sensitivity, headaches, damage from chewing the inside of your cheek and worn-down or broken teeth. One of the primary causes of teeth grinding is as a response to stress. The good news? If you can manage your stress levels, you may be able to nip bruxism in the bud. Here’s more about teeth grinding and stress.

Causes of Bruxism

Teeth grinding can be the result of many factors, to include teeth misalignment, “muscle memory” from an active mouth (as an example, frequent gum chewing), epilepsy, gastroesophageal reflux and even ADHD. More commonly, people grind their teeth during high levels of stress; as such, they are prone to other sleep-related disorders to include apnea.

Ways to Avoid Stress-related Teeth Grinding

It’s nearly impossible to eliminate all the stressors in our busy, hectic lives. But there are ways to manage stress and sleep routines to decrease the chances of grinding away at your teeth while sleeping. If you grind your teeth, consider the following –

·      Power down all your devices.  This means TV, cellphone, tablets, and streaming your favorite shows. Consider instead turning into soothing music or a wave or white noise machine; whatever soothes and calms your mind may also help prevent grinding your teeth.

·      Try a warm bath before bed. A soothing warm bath can help you relax tense muscles and relieve stress. Try adding lavender or eucalyptus to your bath for some well-deserved aromatherapy.

·      Create a cave. Many sleepless nights are triggered by blinking lights on your DVR or the light emitted from a computer screen. Try working with natural light – turn off all manmade lights and work with natural light which will help you regulate your sleep cycles for a better night’s sleep.

·      Clear your nasal passages. A warm cup of decaffeinated tea or that warm bath mentioned earlier can help clear your nasal passages, making it easier to breath through you nose, helping you sleep better.

When to see your dentist

If these home remedies are unsuccessful at relieving the stress that causes bruxism, it may be time to consult with your dentist. Your dentist can create a quality mouth guard to prevent grinding at night. If your teeth are out of alignment, he may recommend orthodontic procedures to align your teeth. If your grinding is a result of missing or broken teeth, your dentist may recommend implants to restore missing or damaged teeth.

Bidding Farewell to Bruxism in Merced

Working with a dentist who understand how to treat bruxism is a good first step to achieving the good night’s sleep – and dental health– you deserve. If you live in Merced and think that you might be grinding your teeth at night, or you are simply seeking the area’s best dental care, you need to reach out to El Portal Dental Group. Our expert and caring staff are committed to your dental health, providing general and cosmetic dentistry for the entire family. Be sure to ask about Solea Dental Laser System, a pain-free alternative to traditional dental drilling. Don’t let another sleepless night go by. Call El Porto Dental Group today at (209) 385-1479 or request an appointment online.

 


Why am I Grinding My Teeth?
Why am I Grinding My Teeth?

Why am I Grinding My Teeth?

Bruxism – the medical term for grinding your teeth – is a damaging habit that not only is bad for your teeth, but can be detrimental to your health in general. Those who grind their teeth during sleep hours are most often unaware they’re doing it. If you awaken each morning or even occasionally with a slight, but constant, headache, or if your jaw is sore in the morning, then you may have been grinding your teeth in your sleep. If you aren’t sure, ask your partner – you will be sure to get an honest response! If you have been grinding your teeth while you sleep, there could be a number of reasons why. Here are some possible reasons why your doctor likely will diagnose you with bruxism.

Why we Grind

What is interesting about bruxism is that it is an effect, not a cause. Teeth grinding usually is the result of a number of different scenarios. Some of include problems sleeping or sleep deprivation, crooked or missing teeth or an over- or under-bite.  Stress has been known to cause bruxism; it can also result from sinus and/or infections, colds, allergies, or other medical conditions.

Who Grinds?

There is no singular type of person who grinds teeth – both male and female; old and young may go through bouts of teeth grinding. The one thing they all share are the similar outcomes, which include:

-       Pain and discomfort, which can include earaches, toothaches, and sore jaw and facial muscles; not to mention, the joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull can be damaged as a result of clenching and/or grinding.

-       Tooth damage, especially to the enamel of both natural and restored teeth. And the more you grind, the more your teeth (to include caps, fillings, and crowns) will be affected. Additionally, the pressure from grinding result in loose or cracked teeth.

-       Sleep deprivation and exhaustion. If you find yourself (or your loved ones) exhausted during the day, it could be the result of your bruxism. And that lack of sleep can make you less productive, put you at risk for disease and accidents, as well as weight gain.

-       TMJ is a pain disorder that is localized in the jaw joint. Persons with TMJ will experience jaw pain, clicking of the jaw and sometimes the jaw will lock. Difficulty chewing is also a symptom.

Put an End to Chronic Teeth Grinding

Depending on the reason for your bruxism, you may be advised any number of solutions. Because bruxism occurs while sleeping, a mouth guard to protect your teeth is a good idea. Your dentist will devise a guard to fit your mouth so that your teeth are protected during sleep. This is the first line of defense, however a more deliberate approach may be in order, if stress is the reason you grind your teeth. There are options that will help you to reduce stress. Ask your healthcare provider or counselor for advice and techniques that will help.  Remedies may include exercises, muscle relaxants, or relaxation exercises. If sleep apnea is behind the grinding, then making an appointment to see a sleep specialist should be a priority.

Cutting back on alcohol and caffeinated drinks may help grinding to subside. Avoid chewing on anything that is not food (e.g., pens, pencils, hair); continuing to do so trains your jaw to clench which in turn causes teeth to grind.

Diagnosis

You still might not be sure about the grinding, unless someone is present during the time that you sleep and can hear and observe the grinding action. Otherwise, the only way to be certain that the symptoms you experience are related to bruxism is to see a dentist, who can confirm your suspicions. During your appointment, your dentist will be able to spot signs of bruxism and make recommendations accordingly.

If you suspect (or are being told) that you’re grinding your teeth at night, El Portal Dental Group can help relieve you deal with the problem. Call us to request an appointment to be examined. We will determine for sure whether you’re suffering from bruxism and will provide a solution to any of your dental needs. Call El Portal Dental Group today by calling 209-385-1479.