Tips for Managing That Grinding Habit
- Posted on: May 30 2018
You may not realize how much your dentist can tell by looking at your teeth. Often, habits like bruxism (tooth grinding and clenching) are discovered by accident. When we ask “do you grind your teeth?” we are often met with surprise. If we were to ask you this question, what would you say? We presume you would think us somewhat mad to assume such a thing. However, statistics indicate that as much as 15% of children grind their teeth. Adults are somewhat less prone to bruxism, but 10% of the adult population grinds – and they don’t even know it. It’s important to know it.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a subconscious habit that typically happens when you sleep. It may seem like a minor nuisance, but this habit is a notable factor in the risk of TMJ disorder. The reason that grinding and clenching can lead to a variety of other uncomfortable symptoms, including frequent headaches, is because the pressure of clenching stresses the joints that enable you to open and close your mouth. Treatment for bruxism and TMJ disorder is available in our Portland office. Additionally, we offer a few tips for managing a grinding habit.
How to Manage Stress
Because clenching and grinding are a common way through which the body works out stress, many of the strategies suggested by experts revolve around stress management. These include:
- Physical activity isn’t just good for the body; it’s good for the mind (which is good for the body!). When we move with a bit of exertion, we move energy through the body. This provides a release of psychological stress. The more tension is released through healthy activity, the less need there is for the body to try and release stress during sleep.
- Essential oils. Recently, the benefits of therapeutic essential oils have become more widely known. Stress-relieving oils such as lavender, rose, vetiver, and bergamot lift the mood just through their aromatic effect. Some people use one or more of these oils before bed to decrease mental stress and improve sleep.
- It turns out there is another reason to eat that banana. Magnesium is a mineral that provides valuable benefits to physical and emotional well-being. Adults need about 320 mg a day to support sleep and muscle relaxation. In addition to bananas, magnesium is found in black beans or may be consumed in supplement form.
Schedule a Consultation
Teeth grinding is a more significant problem than most people imagine. If you suspect that you or someone you love clenches and grinds, schedule a visit with our friendly team. We can develop a comfortable protocol to protect teeth and the jaw. Call 503.646.1463.
Posted in: Temporomandibular Joint Disorder