WARNING: Grinding Your Teeth Is Harming Your Sleep
Written by: Lindsay Sibson
My dentist handed me a free children’s toothbrush and told me to have a nice day.
Free toothbrush – NICE!
However, I was 27 years old at the time (and well beyond being excited about a princess toothbrush).
The thing is, my teeth are incredibly small and have become even smaller and flatter, because I didn’t discover that I was a severe teeth grinder until my mid-twenties!
I went years with waking up to minor headaches, feeling like someone had punched me in the jaw and not having enough strength in the morning to properly chew my food because it HURT!
When I moved to California and went to a new dentist, he promptly alerted me of my severe teeth grinding habit. The first night that I slept with a mouth guard made me feel like I was a new person! I woke up with no tension, a clear head and feeling super rested.
Is teeth grinding messing with YOUR health and sleep? Read on to learn more.
WHAT Is Teeth Grinding?
Dentists refer to it as bruxism and it is a condition in which you habitually grind or clench your teeth while sleeping. It can range from being a mild condition that results in slight headaches and jaw tension, to a severely damaging habit. It is estimated that 10-20% of adults grind their teeth at night.
If left untreated, bruxism can lead to jaw disorders, frequent headaches and damaged teeth.
Causes Of Teeth Grinding:
- Feeling tense or under pressure
- Continual anxiety
- Aggressive, competitive, or hyperactive personality type
- Other sleep problems (ex. sleep apnea)
- Acid reflux (from the stomach into your esophagus)
- Smoking, drinking, and caffeinated beverages may increase your risk
Symptoms Of Teeth Grinding:
- Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped, or loose
- Worn tooth enamel
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Jaw or face pain/soreness
- Tight/tired jaw muscles
- Pains that feels like an earache
- Dull headache originating from the temples
- Damage on the inside of your cheek from chewing
- Indentations on your tongue
HOW To Treat Bruxism
Teeth grinding is most common in children and they usually outgrow the habit. However, if you are an adult and have any symptoms that could be a result of teeth grinding, it is best that you consult your dentist or doctor for a closer examination.
The following approaches are often used to treat teeth grinding:
- Mouth guard – It keeps teeth separated to avoid damage and clenching.
- Alignment – Fixing misaligned teeth.
- Stress management – Professional counseling or learning meditation, breathing, or exercises that promote relaxation.
- Behavior therapy – Practice proper mouth and jaw position.
BUT… if you are anything like me and like to go the “do it yourself” route, here are some lifestyle changes you can embrace to help with teeth grinding:
- Reduce stress – Evaluate problem areas in your life and address your issues. Journal before sleeping to purge stress and negative thoughts that can interfere with your sleep.
- Avoid stimulating substances at night – Caffeine and alcohol can worsen teeth grinding symptoms.
- Develop good sleep habits – Create a relaxing bedtime routine that prepares you for a proper night of sleep.
- STOP chewing gum – It creates tension in your jaw. As soon as I did, my symptoms improved IMMEDIATELY. I was a daily gum chewer and never realized that this habit was wrecking my sleep!
Everyone loves a great night of sleep and waking up feeling FANTASTIC… and sharing your beautiful smile makes the world a happier place.
SHARE this post with your network and you may help someone sleep better TONIGHT!
Source: Mayoclinic, Bodyrock
Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.
Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/_traveloholic_).
Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
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