Teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching are such common problems that you may not even realize you do it. This is totally understandable, but it’s not a good enough excuse to continue!
Both these habits can cause serious jaw and dental health issues over time, so it’s important to be aware of their warning signs. Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth (or both, as is often the case!) affects up to one-third of adults in the daytime and more than 1 in 10 adults during sleep. That’s why now is a great time to “unlearn” these habits.
At Russo Dentistry in Raleigh, we’re all about preventive dental care treatments. Essentially, if it’s not broken, there’s no need to fix it, so you can focus on maintenance or even cosmetic improvement of your smile instead! Particularly in the case of tooth grinding (known medically as bruxism), preventive action goes a long way in reducing the change of pain or damage down the road.
Practice the techniques below to learn how to relax your jaw, prevent unnecessary tooth strain, guard against misalignment, and even breathe healthier! Not to mention—all these practices used in combination with regular dental cleanings with Dr. Russo can help you relax overall with lasting peace-of-mind.
Be Mindful of Signs and Symptoms
Early common symptoms of bruxism include:
– Jaw pain or tightness
– Increased tooth sensitivity
– Dull headache in the temples
– Sleep disruption
– Signs of chewing on the inside of the cheeks
You can make a point to be more mindful of any/all body sensations with guided or self-led meditation. If meditation isn’t for you, or you just don’t have the time, borrow this trick from meditative practice: take a moment to notice without judgment what you’re feeling in the mouth and jaw area. If you’re experiencing any of the above, be sure to contact Russo Dentistry in Raleigh sooner rather than later.
Regularly Check in with Your Posture and Alignment
Similarly, taking a few seconds to sit up straight and properly relax your jaw can either prevent or bring attention to any clenching. From a seated position, make sure your feet are directly below your knees to maintain a 45-degree angle. Then, straighten your spine and lift your head until your gaze is directly in front of you. Finally, place your tongue to rest behind your top teeth and allow your bottom teeth to drift. Remember, even when speaking or just holding your mouth closed at rest, your top and bottom teeth should never touch (except when eating, of course!)
Once you’ve assumed the posture, breathe in through your nose, hold, and release through your mouth. From there, breathe the same way a few more times to really get the hang of it. This will help you fully relax your jaw and move your tongue away from your bottom teeth—so you can then align them properly to resume normal nose breathing.
Practice a Gentle Care Routine
As always, prevention is key, and the best way to maintain optimal oral health (and overall health for that matter!) is to stay consistent. Floss once a day and gently brush in the morning and at night, making sure to also keep up your regular visits to your Raleigh, NC dentist.
Our team is happy to help you stay on track, so contact us today!