Teeth Grinding: Putting an End to an Invisible Problem
Stop teeth grinding and you could actually relieve a myriad of problems. This is because grinding your teeth can cause damage to not just the teeth themselves but also the jawbone and the muscles of the cheek and jaw. This kind of damage can, in turn, lead to head and neck pain and stiffness. So if you can find a way to stop grinding, you can help yourself to feel a whole lot better.
Regular grinding or clenching of the teeth is called bruxism. This is a very common condition, particularly in today's hectic world. That's because one of the main causes of the condition is stress. As we find ourselves in stressful situations or with a buildup of stress, often it is manifested in the need to clench or grind the teeth. It can happen during the day or even at night, and usually without our even realizing that we're doing it.
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That's the real problem with this troubling condition. It is difficult to pinpoint and treat when we aren't even aware that it's happening. Often, your dentist will be the one to determine there's a problem when he or she sees particular patterns of wear on the teeth caused by grinding. Usually, your dentist will recommend that you stop teeth grinding in order to prevent further damage.
So how can you put the brakes on grinding your teeth? The easiest way is to simply relax. Since stress is a primary cause of the condition, anything you can do to relieve stress will also help to relieve teeth grinding. Take a deep breath, listen to relaxation tapes, use aromatherapy or practice a gentle form of exercise like yoga. All of thee can help to relieve stress and make your entire body feel better.
In order to prevent bruxism, try not to chew unless you are actually eating. Chewing on the end of a pencil or on your fingernails can lead to grinding or clenching. If you do find yourself starting to grind your teeth, place your tongue between your teeth to stop yourself from biting down. This may be enough to do the trick as it can serve as a psychological as well as physical warning against grinding.
Some people find that hypnosis can be a useful tool to prevent grinding of the teeth. A trained hypnotist can work with you to help control your unconscious mind. Since for the most part, grinding is an unconscious habit, this can be an effective way of getting to the root of the problem.
In order to stop teeth grinding at night, your dentist can fit you with a special dental guard. This small appliance, worn only at night, can keep you from grinding your teeth by providing a protective barrier. Your dentist can also repair the damage caused by grinding and clenching so that your teeth remain in the best condition possible.
Grinding your teeth is an unfortunate consequence of living in a stressful world, but it is not something you simply have to learn to live with. It may be an invisible problem, but the consequences are all too real. Don't let grinding take over your life, take back your health and you'll feel the difference!
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