Stress Management Can Keep You from Clenching Your Teeth

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth-grinding, an oral disorder that can cause wear on teeth, damage the jaw, and rob the patient of sleep. One of the potential causes for bruxism is stress; the grinding is an external, subconscious way of trying to vent the emotional pressure. In addition to seeing our professionals for a consultation, patients with bruxism are urged to directly address the stress in their lives, both for the health of their mouth and for the rest of their body as well.

Recommended Ways To Handle Stress

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that breaks down and analyzes current problems. CBT can work with other methods – such as medicine and night mouthguards – to dramatically reduce the severity of bruxism. Finding ways to release negative thoughts and embrace positive thoughts before sleeping can lead to less teeth-grinding. When jaw tightness causes a patient to awaken, our team urges our patients to actively loosen and relax their jaws before resuming sleep. Stress can indirectly lead to bruxism when a patient tries to cope with the stress with caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco, all of which can lead to more stress and launch a vicious cycle.

Our professionals urge our patients to break the cycle by removing caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco from their routines. Some patients react well to breathing techniques, which can mitigate the physical effects of stress, such as elevated blood pressure. Finally, many mental health organizations encourage patients to apply “The Four ‘A’s”: Avoid, Alter, Adapt, and Accept. Rejecting unnecessary stress, changing a negative situation to a healthier outcome, changing oneself in response to a stressor, and acknowledging that some factors cannot be changed can dramatically reduce a patient’s stress level.
If you grind your teeth – either consciously or during sleep – contact our office for a consultation and treatment plans.