Ladies: Do you unconsciously clench your teeth at night? Do you pop over-the-counter pain relievers to alleviate what you believe are stress or tension headaches? Well, you’re not alone.
Bruxism, another name for teeth grinding or teeth clenching, is a disorder common among women and men who have high levels of stress. However, even though women and men both suffer from bruxism, it generally causes women to experience more muscle tenderness, jaw pain and headaches while men experience worn down teeth, according to a bruxism article on SheKnows.com.
Individuals who wake up in the morning with aches in their heads, teeth, ears or jaws may be unaware that they are clamping together their upper and lower teeth during the night. In addition, overworked jaw muscles can lead to temporomandibular jaw disorder – a dental condition better known as TMJ.
Teeth grinding and clenching exerts hundreds of pounds of pressure on teeth. If you think this may be the reason for your dental discomfort, run your finger along the tops of teeth to check for any chips or signs of nightly grinding.
Dentists will often prescribe mouth guards to be worn during sleep. These devices may help protect teeth from physical damage and re-train the mouth muscles so that they become more relaxed. A night guard usually lasts between two and four years.
Individuals who have acute symptoms of bruxism may want to try practicing daily jaw-relaxing techniques before seeking more intense treatment. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), untreated bruxism may result in tooth fractures.
Simple lifestyle changes may help alleviate nighttime grinding and clenching, in addition to improving your mental health if stress or anxiety is the cause of your bruxism. The ADA recommends that these people seek means of relaxation through physical therapy, muscle relaxants or counseling. Increasing physical activity has also been associated with lower stress levels, the organization adds.
Stressed-out moms may not be the only family members struggling with nighttime oral problems. Teeth-grinding-bruxism.com reports that half of all children experience the disorder, though many of them grow out of the habit over time. The website recommends that mothers try modifying a child’s activities before bed to help reduce the youngster’s muscle tension. Instead of allowing kids to engage in games or active play with their siblings within an hour before bedtime, parents may consider quietly reading to their children. The organization also suggests that toddlers should not be fed anything but water before going to bed.
If you or someone in your family has dental problems such as worn down or loose teeth due to teeth grinding, then consider visiting a dentist to get checked out. A family or individual dental plan can help you save money on your dental care while addressing the issues caused by bruxism.
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