Although roughly half of all Australians grind or clench their teeth sometimes, it is only a problem for 5% of the population.If you’re one of the 5%, though, you’d probably like to know how to get rid of it and the pain that it can cause. Here are a few tips to help you out.
Control Stress. Plenty of people carry tension in their muscles. For some people that means tight shoulders, while others feel it in their jaws. If you’re experiencing stress in your life, this is a good time to make a plan to deal with it. Meditating, journaling, or regular exercise are all effective ways of coping with stress. If you find that lifestyle changes aren’t enough to relieve your stress, counseling might be helpful.
Relax your jaw. If you’ve developed a habit of clenching those muscles, then even when your stress levels go down, you may retain the habit. Several times during the day, make a choice to relax those muscles. It may help to set a reminder on your phone to help you break the habit. You will also want to avoid chewing gum, which increases jaw tension.
Massage.While you’re reminding yourself to relax your jaw, take a minute to massage those tight, sore muscles. You can also hold a warm compress on the area, which is very soothing to achy muscles.
Take care of your sleep.The same habits that help you get a good night’s sleep will also help you stop clenching and grinding your teeth at night. Sleep in a cool, dark room, and avoid caffeine late in the day. Drinking alcohol before bed will inhibit your sleep cycle, so ditch the nightcap for now. You may find a lavender scented bath soothing. As you prepare for bed, this is a good time to use some of those stress-reducing habits you’re learning.
Seek medical help.Night time clenching or grinding can be caused by sleep apnoea or by some anti-depressants. Speak to your doctor to determine if this is the cause. It can also be caused by a misaligned bite, which your dentist can address. No matter the cause, it may be a good idea to have your dentistmake you a mouth guard to keep you from damaging your teeth while you sleep.
If grinding or clenching is causing you pain, or if we can help with any other dental questions, please contact us at Morrin Dental, Newcastle.