Three Ways To Stop Yourself From Tensing Your Jaw

Dentist Blog

If you've been under a lot of stress lately, you may have started experiencing jaw pain. This comes from tensing or clenching your jaw, mostly unconsciously and often when you sleep. Repeated clenching and tooth grinding can result in worn-down teeth and possible bone loss in the jaw, so it's important that you stop the clenching and grinding as soon as you can. Here are three things you can do to stop that tensing.

Keep a Record

Keep a small notebook with you and record all the times that you find yourself clenching your teeth. Chances are, if you think you're doing it in your sleep, you're also likely doing it unconsciously when you're awake, and vice versa. Note how you feel at the time, if the clenching seemed worse on one side, and what times of the day it happened. After a few days, go back over the records to see if you can identify a pattern. For example, if you notice tension on weekday mornings as you get ready for work, you may have to deal with job stress in order to stop the tensing. Or, if you notice the tension happening on days when you deal with a certain task or person, you'll have to address the situation with that task or person to stop the jaw tensing.

Get Adequate Sleep and Nutrition

Even if you're clenching your teeth a lot in your sleep, don't try to skip sleep. In fact, ensure you're getting an adequate amount each night and that you're eating well, too. The more well-rested you are and the more well-nourished, the better you'll be able to handle the stress that's causing the jaw tension. That in itself could reduce the tension substantially.

Massage Your Jaw

Occasionally throughout the day, and before you sleep, you should gently massage the muscles on your lower jaw just under your ears. Sometimes that massage can relax the muscles enough to ward off tension even when you're asleep. Massage is really a temporary fix; you'll still have to find and address the cause of the tension. But in the meantime, the massage can help reduce the pain.

If you are still having trouble with jaw tension, call your dentist office and make an appointment with your dentist. He or she can get you a mouth guard to help protect your teeth and can also help you work through other coping strategies to reduce jaw clenching.


20 March 2016