How Bruxism Affects Your Overall Health
We’ve talked a lot about how stress and bruxism are linked, and how important it is to consider your mental health when trying to reduce the likelihood of nighttime teeth grinding. But what’s also worthwhile is understanding just exactly why stopping the grind is so integral to your long-term physical and emotional health. So today, we’re taking a look at what bruxism does to the body and mind over time, with the hope that, the more you know about the long-term effects, the more inspired you’ll be to take some time for yourself and take inventory of how you’re handling the stress we all face in our day-to-day lives.
Your Mouth On Bruxism
- Facial Pain. Clenching can lead to chronic soreness of the muscles surrounding your jaw.
- Earaches. Tension travels—ear soreness is an early indication bruxism is already taking its toll.
- Jaw Disorders. The longer the clenching persists, the more likely you are to experience Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) problems, which can cause further facial soreness, neck and shoulder pain, and even difficulty chewing, swallowing, and even talking.
- Tooth Damage. This one’s obvious, but certainly nothing to shrug off—enamel wear means greater tooth sensitivity and unnecessary pain.
- Gum Recession. The more you grind, the more your teeth move, leaving space for bacteria to surface, grow, and cause a host of problems.
- Headaches. No one wants headaches.
There’s a lot more to work on than your mouth alone, and we’ll cover that below. But as far as protecting your teeth, gums, jaw and more—both in the short and long term—there’s no better way to start than the Otis Custom Night Guard.
Your Brain On Bruxism
- Stress. This is more likely than not how it all started, but sadly just the beginning. Your brain is equipped to initiate physical responses to stressful situations, so when you experience psychological stress in your life, your brain will produce cortisol, basically to help your body steel up and prepare to face perceived danger. Well, a common fallout is grinding.
- Anxiety. If you already suffer from anxiety, depression, or any number of other psychological disorders, then bruxism can actually exacerbate things. Basically, if you know you’re grinding at night, and want to stop but don’t know how, the extra anxiety from this awareness will, in short, exacerbate the grinding.
Your brain doesn’t know when to stop protecting your body—so the more you grind, and the more you’re aware of the grinding, the worse your situation could become. Call it a snowball effect. But the good news is this: You can condition your brain into not being so up in arms about stress—the true culprit behind all of this.
The Whole You On Otis
As you’ve likely gathered after reading the above, bruxism is no laughing matter—not in the beginning, and certainly not by the time it’s become a chronic issue. That’s why, at Otis, we’re all about the root—the why, which of course you now understand is stress.
Follow us on Instagram, where we provide daily advice, exercises and general support in your journey of stress-reduction, and keep coming back to this blog for in-depth explanations (again—knowing the why behind things is key!).
Remember: Stress affects everyone, and bruxism isn’t rare. Stick with Otis, and we’ll get you living a happier, healthier life in no time.