If you or a loved one has heard you grind your teeth, you may be told to stop right away for good reason. Teeth grinding (bruxism) can eventually lead to long-term oral health complications, including headaches, jaw pain, and tooth damage.
Still, simply being told to stop teeth grinding is sometimes easier said than done, especially if you don’t know the underlying causes. Your dentist may recommend stress management as a way to stop grinding your teeth, as stress is a known cause for this condition.
How Stress Leads to Teeth Grinding
There are two main types of teeth grinding: sleep bruxism and awake bruxism. While nighttime teeth grinding is most often associated with chewing activities in your sleep, stress is the main factor that causes awake bruxism. With awake bruxism, you might catch yourself clenching your teeth and grinding them throughout the day—sometimes subconsciously.
Regular stress and anxiety can lead to tension throughout the body, including your neck and jaw. This can lead to an automatic reflex where you clench your jaw and grind your teeth together in an effort to alleviate the tension. Some people also grind their teeth when they’re in the middle of concentrating on a problem.
Signs of Teeth Grinding
Since many people grind their teeth subconsciously, you may not even realize you’re grinding yours, either. If you’re under a lot of stress, you can be on the lookout for possible signs and symptoms of teeth grinding. Among these signs include:
- Frequent headaches
- Jaw pain
- Disrupted sleep
- Increased tooth sensitivity
How to Stop Stress-related Teeth Grinding
If you experience significant stress and daytime bruxism, the best option is to try to reduce your stress load so you can then stop teeth grinding. You can reduce stress and subsequent teeth grinding by:
- Reducing your work load
- Delegating tasks to others
- Regular meditation intervals
- Regular exercise
- Mind-body practices, such as yoga
- Good nutrition
- Get adequate sleep (at least seven hours every night)
- Taking time for your hobbies, such as sports, crafts, and reading
- Seeking individual or group therapy
Call North View Dental
Aside from lowering stress, it’s important to have one of our qualified dentists check out your teeth and jaw bones to ensure grinding hasn’t taken a permanent toll in these areas. They will also see if dental guards or other procedures might be needed. All checkups are completed in a timely manner in our comfortable office, with a few Saturday appointments available. Call North View Dental with teeth grinding questions and to make an appointment today.