The Link Between Stress and Bruxism
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a prevailing condition. According to a report from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, awake bruxism affects as much as 31% of adults to varying degrees, while sleep bruxism affects about 13% of adults.
Why does this happen? While there are various factors involved, stress is believed to be one of the more prevailing causes. What exactly is the connection between stress and bruxism?
What’s the Connection Between Stress and Bruxism?
According to the Bruxism Association, stress and anxiety disorders have been reported in 70% of bruxism cases. What’s the correlation and why?
Job-related stress is believed to be a significant cause. Stress in the workplace leads to diminished sleep quality. One study found a strong link between work stress and insomnia. Sleep disorders are also prevalent among bruxism patients, with studies linking bruxism with insomnia and sleep apnea.
Bruxism is also higher among people with high-stress and fast-paced occupations. One study in Brazil, for example, found that police officers experienced bruxism at a rate seven times higher than the general population.
In addition, chronic stress can also lead to behaviors that may provide temporary relief, but ultimately lead to more anxiety. This includes alcohol, caffeine, and recreational drug use.
4 Ways to Reduce Stress
With various scientific literature confirming a link between bruxism and stress, reducing stress may yield some relief from involuntary jaw clenching. Here are some natural ways to relieve stress.
Physical movement is a great natural stress reliever. People who exercise often feel the sensation described as runner’s high after a workout.
This is because exercise stimulates the release of endorphins and other “feel good” hormones. Your workouts don’t have to be super-intense. Brisk walking or even doing chores counts as exercise.
Writing about your problems can be surprisingly therapeutic. Your journal is private to you, so you have free reign to write what’s on your mind without fear of judgment.
Whatever is stressing you out, allow yourself to fully vent via pen and paper. You can share the contents with people you trust, but this is up to you.
There are various ways of meditating besides sitting with your eyes closed. You can also try walking meditation, or meditating while soaking in a warm bath.
Use this moment to take deep breaths from the diaphragm. Whatever thoughts arise, don’t judge them. Just acknowledge what comes to mind and let them pass.
Change Your Perspective
Have you ever heard of the term that the human mind is a “wrong-seeking missile?” We have a tendency to focus on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. Shift from a glass-half full mindset rather than a glass-half-empty mentality.
Instead of lamenting about the constant tight deadlines at work, for instance, think about what’s good, such as your friendly coworkers, or the upcoming company outing.
Read also: Can I Treat Bruxism Naturally?
Get Treatment for Bruxism in Lafayette, LA
Stress isn’t just a psychological and emotional condition that has you feeling blue. It also leads to physical conditions, which include bruxism. So, understanding the connection between stress and bruxism is a critical part of being able to address the issue.
Moreover, some people may not even realize that their teeth grinding is a sign of underlying stress until after it has become a problem. It’s essential to be aware that unmanaged stress can have an impact on bruxism and take the steps necessary to keep it under control.
Talking to your doctor or physician is often a great place to start in finding treatment. And if you need treatment for bruxism in Lafayette, LA, be sure to contact us at Maestri Family Dental.
We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and provide expert advice on the best possible care plan to treat the condition. Don’t let bruxism take over—get help today!