The time you spend sleeping is supposed to be your body's chance to restore itself so you can wake up refreshed and ready for the new day. If you have a problem with clenching teeth, however, you may find yourself feeling far from refreshed in the morning. Clenching your teeth can result in a headache that feels tight, a sore jaw, and even painful or damaged teeth. While the clenching and grinding of teeth can occur during the day, it's most likely to happen while you're sleeping. There is, however, some good news for nighttime sufferers of this condition, called bruxism. Stress relieving measures can help reduce the amount of tooth grinding some children and adults experience.
Dental Night Guard Prevents Clenching of Teeth
Similar to other types of sleep disturbances, such as sleep walking, nighttime tooth clenching is commonly believed to be caused by stress, nervousness, and anxiety. Misaligned teeth, however, are another common source of this problem. A dental night guard - a soft plastic barrier worn during sleep - provides an effective solution to relieve some clenching of misaligned teeth. Dental night guards are ideally fitted during a visit with your dentist, but are also available over the counter. If you choose a generic model, be aware that it might not fit as comfortably as one made by your dentist. While wearing a dental night guard during sleep stops the teeth from grinding together, it is also important to address the cause of the stress.
Stress Relief to Help Unclench Teeth
It might sound strange to think of controlling nighttime bruxism during your waking hours, but getting rid of daytime stress increases the chance of getting a restful night's sleep, that is one with no clenching teeth. Start by avoiding strenuous activity and caffeine in the hours before bedtime. Choose peaceful activities to enjoy while getting ready for bed, such as listening to soft music, taking a warm bath, and sipping herbal tea or cocoa. (Just don't forget to brush and floss after consuming these drinks.) Add stress relieving activities during early daytime hours, as well, such as journaling, aerobic activity, yoga, or gentle stretching after a walk.