It’s the most wonderful time of the year – a time of family, friends and traditions. But with all the hustle and bustle, the holidays can also be a time of added stress. And when you’re stressed, you may take it out on their teeth without even realizing it. While occasional teeth grinding is normal, regular teeth grinding can lead to oral complications and teeth damage.
So how do you know if you grind your teeth? Here are a few ways to tell:
soreness of the jaw
- painful or loose teeth
- dull headaches
- fractured teeth
Check out these remedies to help lessen the urge to clench your teeth:
Reduce stress. Exercise, meditation and counseling can be great ways to combat stress. Surrounding yourself with friends that make you happy and comfortable also helps you unwind. So does going to bed (and waking up) at the same time each day, along with maintaining a balanced diet.
Eliminate caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause tension in the jaw, so say goodbye to coffee, soda, and energy drinks, especially before bedtime.
Avoid alcohol. Teeth grinding tends to get worse with alcohol consumption, which can affect the quality of sleep. Drink wisely to avoid nocturnal teeth grinding.
Practice relaxing the jaw. When you feel yourself tensing your jaw, place the tip of your tongue between your teeth. By getting into this habit, you become more mindful of how often you clench your teeth and begin to train your jaw to relax.
Don’t gnaw on non-foods. Chewing on pencils, pens or anything else that is not a food may make you more prone to grinding your teeth. Chewing gum can have the same effect, so it’s a good idea to cut back or eliminate gum, as well.
Consider a mouth guard. This custom-made mouth piece fits over your top or bottom teeth. Usually worn at bedtime, a mouth guard will reduce jaw muscle pain and protect tooth wear.
If you are experiencing symptoms that may be related to teeth grinding, we welcome the opportunity to meet with you. To schedule an appointment, please contact Scott T. LeSueur, DDS & Charles A Dodaro, DDS online or by calling our Mesa office at (480) 834-6991 today. We serve Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and all surrounding Arizona communities.