Is Stress and Anxiety Causing You to Grind Your Teeth?
The real worrying thing about grinding your teeth is that most of the time you can be unaware that you are doing it. Dentists believe that bruxism - the technical term for teeth grinding - has become endemic among stressed-out adults. And many of these dentists are putting the sudden increase in the habit down to the Covid-19 pandemic with all those higher levels of stress. We have all had to endure a lot of change - and change induces stress.
Some signs and symptoms to look out for
- The eroding of the enamel on your teeth.
- Soreness or tenderness in the jaw.
- The inside of cheeks being slightly lacerated.
What to do to protect your teeth from grinding
- Invest in some mouth guards. With a little bit of care and following the manufacturer's instructions, you can ensure these fit really well so that there is no discomfort. I have been using mouth guards for a year or more and I actually find that it now feels weird settling down to sleep if there is not one in my mouth. When purchasing an OTC mouthguard, look for one that’s made of soft plastic or one that can be placed in boiling water to soften and custom fit it to your mouth.
- Reductive coronoplasty is a dental procedure that may be used to reshape or level the biting surface of your teeth especially if your teeth grinding is caused by crowded, misaligned or crooked teeth. In some instances, a second procedure called additive coronoplasty may be used to build up the teeth. Your dentist can perform either procedure.
Biofeedback is a technique designed to help people become aware of and eliminate a behavior. It can be used to alleviate both "sleep and awake bruxism".
During biofeedback, a specialist therapist will teach you how to control your jaw muscle movements through visual, vibratory or auditory feedback generated from electromyography. Research on the effectiveness of biofeedback for the treatment of bruxism is limited.
- Learning to de-stress. Stress reduction can also benefit your overall health so it’s a low-risk remedy with benefits. Try meditation, yoga, talk therapy (talking to a therapist, counselor, or trusted friend may help reduce anxiety, depression, and stress) and/or exercise.
- Avoiding pressure on your jaws by eating soft foods and avoiding any food that is too crunchy or tricky to chew.
- Getting into good bedtime habits from meditation to warm baths, avoiding too much bad news on the TV and instead relaxing with a good book.