Yes, Grinding Your Teeth Ages You! Here Are Some Tips On How to Stop Bruxism
sageq on 28 Apr 2014 at 10:30am
Every morning millions of Americans wake up with headaches, sore jaws, and a lingering sluggishness that can take hours to subside — and many of them have no idea why. Though it may sound like they might have had a really crazy night the night before, the pain is actually due to Bruxism, which is not a political theory but teeth grinding and clenching. It’s also a problem for more than 50% of adults, and is a contributing factor to — wait for it — signs of aging! Dun-dun-DUN!
Bruxism stems from a variety of issues, but is most commonly a result of stress, irregular sleep patterns, or maddeningly, nothing at all. And while it might only be headaches and a sore jaw at first, chronic grinding can fracture and wear your teeth down. This damage can cause major changes in the structure of your jaw, which can make you look years older than you actually are. (Over time the muscles around the jaw will start to stick out, which makes the face more boxy and strips away the softness that is associated with youth.) But, wait, there’s more! Your bite can also be affected -- or even collapse or over-close. When this happens, the chin juts forward farther than it should and makes the lower third of your face appear squished. This misalignment of the jaw ages the face quite a bit.
Worried yet? It’s not too late to stop! Dr. Kourosh Maddahi, world-renowned expert and author in anti-aging dentistry, has a few tips to help you stop grinding and clenching your teeth.
Settle Your Stress
Stress is a main factor behind teeth grinding. Try keeping a to-do list throughout the day to make sure there’s nothing you’ve forgotten before you settle down for some z’s.
Putting your jaw through stress during the day trains it to do the same thing at night. Avoid chewing gum or any hard foods like steak and gummy candy, especially late at night.
Stick Out Your Tongue
Okay, maybe not all the way out! Try resting your tongue between your top and bottom teeth. This trains your jaw to rest without clenching. [Editor’s note: If you want to stick your tongue all the way out (you rebel), try the Lion’s Breath yoga pose to relieve stress and stretch your jaw and tongue.]
MORE: 4 Ways To Naturally Whiten Your Teeth in One Week
Treat Your Jaw to a Spa Day
Warmth is essential to training your jaw to stay relaxed. Try taking a hot bath before you go to sleep, or rest a warm washcloth on your face as your night comes to a close. Massaging it helps too!
Alcohol and caffeine can cause significant increases in grinding and clenching. It might not be as exciting, but try something more soothing such as caffeine-free tea to help calm your body and jaw.
Have some other ways to battle teeth grinding? Share them in the comments section below!
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Photo credit: Shannon Kane on Facebook