The holiday season is upon us and along with it is holiday stress. Stress is one of the main causes of bruxism or teeth grinding, which often happens while you sleep. While occasional grinding or clenching may not be harmful, regular grinding can damage not only your teeth, but also affect your jaw muscles and joints. We examine the common symptoms of teeth grinding as well as look at ways to stop teeth grinding.
Beyond stress and anxiety, teeth grinding can also be caused by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, and alcohol or tobacco use. In fact, a study from the November 2016 edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association found that smokers and people who abuse alcohol and drugs were almost twice as likely to grind their teeth. Since teeth grinding often happens while you sleep, it is helpful to know the symptoms so complications don’t arise.
Common Symptoms of Bruxism
- Dull headache
- Sore jaw, neck, and face muscles
- Tooth pain or sensitivity
- Chipped or flattened teeth
In some cases, prolonged teeth grinding can lead to tooth loss or fractured teeth. Cracked teeth can impact your appearance and even change your bite which could alter your facial profile.
There are steps you can take to stop grinding your teeth, and your dentist should be part of your plan. A dentist can prescribe and fabricate a night-guard to help protect your teeth. If you feel you have been experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, come in for a comprehensive dental exam so we can help develop a treatment plan that is specialized for you.
If stress is the cause, then finding a way to relax your mind and your jaw muscles is important. Relaxation techniques and meditation are powerful ways to not just unclench your jaw, but also to improve your overall health. Counseling and exercise are also effective ways to reduce stress and anxiety as well as improve your well-being.
This holiday season, remember to take a deep breath and allow yourself some time to relax. If you need help addressing and treating your bruxism, give us a call at 207.781.5900. We are your dental care partner and we want you to have a healthy mouth and a healthy life!
*Image courtesy of www.metro.co.uk