The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most challenging parts of history over the past year. As a result, heightened anxiety and increased stress have led to disrupted sleep and oral health complications. In fact, the American Dental Association found that 60% of dentists have reported an increase in teeth grinding, or bruxism, due to the heightened stress from the pandemic. If this has happened to you, there are treatments to help.
Address anxiety and stress
One way to alleviate sleep bruxism is to find a way to wind down before bed. This can be very effective in helping relieve your stress and anxiety. Whether it is meditation, deep breathing or reading before bed, it is important to find something that works for you.
It is important to note, though, that you will not change your ways overnight. It takes time to establish new habits. For example, start with meditation for five minutes and then increase to 10 minutes the following week.
Practice jaw exercises
If alleviating your stress doesn’t work, you can try simple jaw exercises. Those exercises aim to bring balance back between the muscles that control the jaw joint. Through systemic tension followed by relaxation of the shoulder, jaw and face muscles throughout the day can give your body a better understanding of what it feels like to feel relaxed.
As a result, you can recognize when you are grinding your teeth and also what triggers might be. From this, you can begin to break the cycle of your teeth grinding habit.
Use mouth guards and splints
An effective solution might also be the use of mouth guards and splints. By using splints, it evens out the pressure across your jaw to create a physical barrier to protect your teeth from further damage from your teeth grinding. These devices also help reduce any grinding noises that you or your bed partner makes each night.
Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel at Craniofacial Pain and Dental Sleep Center of Georgia to learn more about teeth grinding and how to get help.