Do you occasionally catch yourself clenching and grinding your teeth? Bruxism, or habitual teeth-grinding, is a common phenomenon that can affect patients for a number of different reasons. Often, the condition is the result of excessive stress and anxiety, but can also be caused by a dysfunction with your bite’s balance. Because many patients with bruxism grind their teeth most-often at night, they may not be aware of their condition. Calabasas dentist, Dr. K, warns that if you don’t stop grinding your teeth, then the pressure and friction can damage your teeth and jaws, creating a host of subsequent dental issues.
Tips for Bruxism Patients
Patients with stress-related bruxism are often advised to seek ways of relieving stress to relax tension in their muscles. If tense and overtaxed muscles are the result of your teeth-grinding, then try one or more of the following methods to alleviate anxiety and stress.
Exercise—Walking, jogging, yoga, or other physical activity can help the body burn off nervous energy and release feel-good chemicals, like endorphins. Additional benefits of regular exercise include improved physical and emotional health.
Apply heat—A heating pad or hot water bottle applied to the side of your face can help tense jaw muscles relax, reducing spasms and involuntary clenching. Be sure the source is hot enough to provide relief, but not hot enough to burn the sensitive skin on your face.
Relax—A hectic schedule may seem like there’s little time for frivolity, but the stress of a hectic schedule is even more reason to make time to relax. Read a book in low light, listen to soft music, take a hot soothing bath, or find another relaxing ritual to help you unwind every day.
Wear a mouthguard—Eliminating stress is an excellent way to help treat bruxism, but to protect your teeth from the habit, Dr. K often recommends wearing a custom-designed sleepguard. Similar to a sports mouthguard, your oral appliance will protect your upper and lower teeth from each other while you sleep, preventing them from scraping together.