Mind Over Mouth: How Managing Your Mental Health Can Help Mitigate Bruxism
It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and we at OTIS are no strangers to speaking our minds about—well—our minds. We know bruxism isn’t a purely physical phenomenon—it’s tied to daily stress, which is our body’s response to difficult or uncomfortable situations. Basically, when your mood is in a rough spot, so too are your teeth.
We’ll always be the first to recommend an OTIS Custom Night Guard for anyone who grinds their teeth at night, but we also want to be there to help you alleviate the stress that leads to the grinding in the first place.
Sure, we could try to avoid stress altogether, but that’s unrealistic—plus, it’s more how we respond to stress that really makes a difference on our overall health. Regardless of the unique stressors we encounter in our lives, here are some things we could all stand to try in the interest of positively responding to stressful situations:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)
CBT-I is a form of talk therapy that helps people manage their frustrations about having trouble sleeping. If you suffer from bruxism, you have likely had difficulty getting restful sleep. CBT-I helps you spend less time thinking about sleep, and more time actually sleeping.
Sleep hygiene has to do with developing pre-bedtime rituals designed to reduce—and ideally eliminate—stressors. In brief, it’s cutting back on stimulating activity (sorry—no more screen time!), and establishing a calm atmosphere.
How you choose to wind down is your choice, but when it comes to establishing good sleep hygiene, and managing stress in general, it’s important to have relaxation techniques to turn to. Some popular options include:
- Breathing Exercises. Methods like 4-7-8 breathing, wherein you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven, and then slowly exhale for eight, can work wonders. If you’re focusing on your breath, you’re not focusing on stress.
- Yoga. The focus on the breath, and on centering your body and mind, has worked wonders for centuries.
- Hot Showers
- Jaw Massages
- Meditation. There are many practices, but the point of all meditation exercises is to instill a feeling of calm, and to be present with your emotions—accepting them, and then moving on with resolve.
No matter how you choose to deal with your stress, we strongly encourage you to do exactly that—deal with it. It’s not the easiest task, but it’s essential. We’re here for you!
Keep coming back for more useful information!