Jaw clenching is a major problem for millions of people. In a world of hyper connectivity and seemingly endless work schedules, people are more stressed out than ever. When it comes down to it, stress is one of the most common causes of teeth clenching, which wouldn’t be such a bad condition if it didn’t cause teeth grinding. If you are waking up with a headache and sore teeth, there is a good chance that you clench your jaw in your sleep. In order to battle teeth clenching and teeth grinding, you want to get to the bottom of the stress and you want to train your sleeping self to break the habit. Here is how to avoid clenching your jaw at night.
First and foremost, you want to find out what some of your main stressors are. If you are stressed out at work or in your marriage, there is a good chance that you are clenching your teeth at night as a coping mechanism. The clenching allows your thoughts to shift away from the stress, so that you can sleep more soundly – kind of how a baby would suck on a pacifier. As an adult, though, all that clenching can have a negative effect on your health.
Once you find out what the stressor is, you want to start developing ways to relax. You can meditate, take yoga classes, or engage in a number of activities that will help you relax. On top of finding some ways to relax, you also want to take other measures to reduce your stress, like not drinking caffeinated beverages before bedtime. Moreover, you want to refrain from drinking alcohol right before bed. It may be hard to turn down that nightcap, but it may just prevent clenching and the subsequent bruxism.
Next, you want to make sure that there aren’t any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the bruxism or making it worse. For instance, if you have sleep apnea, you may be clenching your teeth as a result of the condition. Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing for moments at a time. These pauses in breathing can happen hundreds of times a night. It is critical that you get tested for the disorder and then start undergoing CPAP treatment. On top of undergoing CPAP treatment, you may also need to wear a mouth guard for teeth grinding. When it comes down to it, teeth grinding can be a hard habit to break, so you want to wear a guard that will provide some serious protection for your teeth.
In the end, teeth clenching and teeth grinding can be a serious problem. If you let it go on, you could wind up with some serious medical conditions. For one thing, teeth grinding can cause excruciating headaches. It can also cause dental issues. Over time, teeth clenching can wear away the enamel on your teeth, which can leave them vulnerable to bacteria and germs. Moreover, eliminating your stress and getting to the root of the problem is one of the best ways to conquer teeth clenching.