Let’s be honest. Life can be very stressful at times. Work deadlines, family issues, health problems, and concerns over finances and bills can all contribute to high-stress levels. While you may feel you have your stress managed, your body has different ways of dealing with stress that you may not realize. Unconscious behaviors, such as nighttime teeth grinding, are often ways your body deals with stress. Teeth grinding is believed to be a physical manifestation of stress and anxiety, but it can also be a way for your body to try and reduce stress hormones. Wearing teeth grinding guards can help reduce dental damage from teeth grinding while you work to help reduce your stress.
How Stress Plays a Role in Nighttime Teeth Grinding
How high your stress levels are can be a high predictor of bruxism, with the Bruxism Association reporting that high-stress levels are responsible for 70% of nighttime teeth grinding cases. Many believe that grinding your teeth at night is the body’s natural attempt to deal with your daily stress. Your body has a natural fight or flight reaction to stress that increases adrenaline. When this adrenaline increases, your body needs to reduce the adrenaline. In many instances, this occurs by an increase in unconscious muscle activity that results in jaw clenching or teeth grinding.
In our current world, stressors are increasing and, unfortunately, researchers and dentists have also seen an increase in nighttime teeth grinding. A BioMed Research International review looked at this increase in bruxism over the years and determined that our contemporary environment is full of stress threats that are dangerous to our health. The increase in bruxism has increased significantly and can be connected to the increase in stress levels worldwide. Researchers believe that physicians need to pay more attention to potential stressors in their patients in order to diagnosis possible complications, such as nighttime teeth grinding, in the early stages.
With increasing economic pressures in the United States, many Americans are experiencing increased stress. In turn, many dentists are experiencing significant increases in patients coming in with damage from nighttime teeth grinding. While teeth grinding guards, like those from SportingSmiles, can help protect your teeth from permanent damage, reducing your stress levels will help reduce your grinding.
Reducing your stress levels is easier said than done. However, when it comes to teeth grinding, even the smallest reduction in stress can make a difference. When your stress levels drop, so do your stress hormones and the body’s need to reduce them through the unconscious muscle activity responsible for nighttime teeth grinding.
Tips to Reduce Your Daily Stress
- Try and keep a positive attitude and learn to accept that there are things and events that you cannot control.
- Exercise on a regular basis. When your body is fit and in good shape, you are better able to deal with stress.
- Set limits and learn that it is okay to say “NO.”
- Eat healthy and well-balanced meals. Again, when your body is healthy it is better able to deal with stress.
- Learn relaxation techniques to reduce your body’s stress levels. Things like meditation, yoga, tai-chi, and even a simple evening bath can help reduce your stress levels.
While it may take time to reduce your stress levels and, you may still not stop grinding your teeth, wearing a nightguard can help reduce the symptoms and protect your teeth. Visit SportingSmiles to learn about our high-quality, low-cost, custom-fit teeth grinding guards.
- Make sure to get enough rest and sleep. Listen to your body and give it time to rest and recover, especially after stressful events.
- Avoid alcohol or drugs to combat stress. While you may feel better temporarily, these things can actually increase your body’s stress levels.
- Seek out social or professional help in order to help you better cope with stressful situations.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter can actually cause positive physical changes in the body and is a great way to help your body combat stress.
- Listen to music. Music, whether listening or playing, provides a mental distraction, reduces muscle tension, and helps to decrease stress hormones.
Working to reduce your stress levels will take time and you may continue to experience nighttime teeth grinding. Because there is no quick stop for grinding, it is essential that you continue to protect your teeth. Nighttime teeth grinding guards provide a layer of cushion and protection between your teeth. This helps relax the jaw muscles and prevents the wear of enamel on your teeth. Once the enamel is gone, it cannot be replaced and can lead to tooth loss. At SportingSmiles, we offer a variety of custom-fit nighttime teeth grinding guards that will help protect your teeth while you work on helping your body deal with your stress. For more information, visit our Teeth Grinding Guards page.