man holding head due to stress from workFeeling a weight on your shoulders? That stress is also damaging your smile

Stress is intangible on its own, but it has physical manifestations. We all process our anxiety differently, and see it showing up in our lives in unique ways. Some lose sleep, some become irritable, some overeat… and some grind their teeth. Do you wake up with a sore jaw and a headache? You could be clenching without realizing it.

Grinding, also known as bruxism, is a widespread problem among American adults, and has a variety of causes – but stress is one of the leading links. It not only causes erosion, cracks, and breaks in your enamel and dental work, heightens tooth sensitivity, and leads to receding gums, but also places undue pressure on your jaws. Chronic grinding can actually damage your jaw joint and heighten the chances of dysfunction.

 Breaking the Bruxism Habit

Grinding is sinister because it typically takes place when you don’t notice what your jaw is doing. This is either when you’re sleeping or deeply concentrating. How often have you noticed that you were subconsciously clenching a muscle in your body, and forced yourself to relax? This happens all too often.

Depending on your teeth and your habits, one or more of the following will help you relax your jaw, even through the night:

  • Conscious relaxation – Many of us go to bed stressed, which results in bad dreams, low quality sleep, and a clenched jaw. Try to take time to clear your mind and focus on rest before it’s time to fall asleep.
  • New pre-bedtime routine – Don’t smoke or have caffeine or alcohol before bed. Stop looking at screens (laptop, tablet, or phone) well before bedtime. Don’t read or watch TV in bed – make your bedroom a space for sleep only.
  • Night guard – A custom mouth guard will fit your teeth snugly and protect them from the forces of clenching and grinding.
  • Orthodontic treatment – If your teeth aren’t properly aligned, your bite may not be something that your jaws can easily fall into – leaving them grappling to connect. Balancing your occlusal surface will help.
  • Stress management – Keep reading to learn more about how you can ease your stress in the long term. This will not only improve your grinding, but help make every day your very best.

 Managing Your Stress For Improved Health and Happiness

Trying to figure out personal approaches to managing stress can be extremely difficult. Many only discover this with the help of therapy or lifestyle changes, and the solution is different for everyone. Your brain can only handle so much, and sometimes you need to rearrange your priorities to feel comfortable and in control. Some of the most popular approaches to de-stressing include

  • Meditation or yoga
  • Exercise
  • Making time to relax
  • Leave work at the office, and make your home space a soothing one
  • If you’re extremely stressed by work and struggling to feel like yourself, it may be time to consider a new job
 Macomb County General Dentist | General Dentist Macomb County | General Dentistry Macomb County