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Are You a Teeth Grinder?
Published: 10/15/2012

Do you frequently wake in the morning with sore cheek muscles, loose or temperature-sensitive teeth, a headache, earache or jaw pain? If so, you may be grinding your teeth or habitually clenching your jaw in your sleep (or even during waking hours). Known as bruxism, this is a fairly common problem caused by a misaligned bite (malocclusion). It can also be a symptom of nervous tension or suppressed anger. Left untreated, bruxism can eventually wear down your teeth.

If your dentist has found your bite to be normal, you may be stressed or internalizing your anger. There are a number of healthy ways to relieve tension or rage: Biofeedback training specifically aimed at reducing jaw muscle tension can be especially helpful. Breathing exercises are another effective stress reliever. Daily physical activity, such as a brisk 20-minute walk or practicing tai chi or yoga can also make a big difference. In addition, avoid consuming alcohol late at night – it has been shown to promote bruxism.

You might also ask your dentist for a molded plastic mouth guard to wear while you sleep. This can help to ease some of the side effects of bruxism. Use it in conjunction with stress reduction practices for best results.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s Daily Tip for info on the importance of healthy teeth!

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