Published: 10/24/2013 - Updated: 06/13/2017
Author: Miriam Reyes
Bruxism is the habit of grinding the teeth unconsciously. This condition is suffered by many people today and it has multiple causes. However, stress is often a major cause.
This is a psycho-neuro-muscular condition, as teeth grinding can wear them down and damage them. Grinding teeth usually occurs during sleep and is difficult to spot until our teeth show signs of being damaged. According to experts, stress, sleep and function of your teeth are all factors that influence this problem.
- Stress and anxiety
- In many cases, bruxism is accompanied by depression
- Ear pain and headaches
- Tooth sensitivity, both to cold and heat
- Swelling of the jaw
- Eating Disorders
Today stress is a big part of our daily lives: This can affect us psychologically and physically, and even in our social life. Frustration can cause anxiety, distress, fear and panic.
When we fail to disperse or digest this stress, it can accumulate in an organ, in this case, in the mouth and teeth and during sleep these reactions are activated.
Feelings that are behind bruxism
Bruxism can generate feelings of rage, anger and hatred that the individual is unable to express, either because they are not aware of these feelings or because they do not want to harm anyone with their reaction. However, this creates an internal conflict manifested in the action of grinding the teeth, which not only damages our teeth, but also the jaw contracture. In short, the person, rather than destroy, crush and tear up the situation that is generating stress for them, they inhibit these feelings and they begin to corrode themselves, ie their teeth.
What can be done?
In these cases, seeking therapy is a good alternative, it is also important to visit your dentist to find out how to minimise the damage to the teeth. We must take into account the following guidelines:
- Try to reflect on what is affecting you emotionally and causing you anxiety and distress.
- Try to combat stress and respect your need to rest well.
- Surround yourself with a positive environment.
- Learn to express your feelings, including anger.
- Learn to say "no".
- Develop your tolerance for frustration.
- Include a sport or physical activity in your daily routine.
Affected by your emotions?
If bruxism is stemming from stress, consider therapy, especially when the symptoms have been there for a while. You need to understand and identify the emotions that have triggered this symptom in the first place.
Bruxism tends to present more regularly in people who are susceptible to depression, as well as those who contain their anger.
Bruxism can get a lot worse if the root cause is not properly addressed. It can lead to bruxomania, when anxiety levels rise and people grind their teeth while awake .
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Relaxation is important, so try to look for strategies to release tension and daily stress. A good idea is to use a relaxing massage or an activity like gardening or painting to help us clear our heads. Other tips for pain relief are:
- Apply cold or heat on the jaw muscles to reduce inflammation.
- Consume enough water every day.
- Avoid hard foods or foods that are difficult to chew.
- You must get enough rest at night.
- Either massage yourself or get someone else to give you a massage on the jaw and neck muscles, looking for points or nodes where there is tension.
- Try to consciously relax your facial muscles and jaw throughout the day.
- It will be useful to learn relaxation techniques, yoga is another option that can help us release stress and learn how to handle the situations that create stress.
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