Everyday is accompanied with different short term and long term stressors, and we all know that some days can feel overwhelming at best! Stress starts to take a toll on our bodies if we do not make sure we find ways to manage it, and one area where we commonly take our stress out is our teeth. Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, is a common side-effect of stress. When we are stressed, our muscles tighten and cause us to clench our teeth which can cause deterioration and damage. Fortunately, your Krengel Dental team has helped many patients find more effective coping techniques that help you manage stress AND keep from grinding your teeth. Here are three techniques to try out to reduce your stress and keep your teeth safe from teeth grinding:
1. Jaw exercises
An excellent way to release tension and stress in your jaw is to engage in jaw exercises. Open your mouth as wide as you can while also staying comfortable and touch the front of your teeth with your tongue. This exercise allows your jaw to relax its muscles. Engaging in this exercise regularly throughout the day, especially before bed time, can help reduce the tension in your jaw and keep from tooth grinding.
Just like other areas of our body benefit from massage to relieve tension, our jaw can use some self-massage to promote relaxation. Spend 2-3 minutes gently using your fingers to massage across your jaw to help relax the muscles and soothe the area. Using a hot towel or cloth on the area can also help promote relaxation with massage.
3. Deep breathing
No matter what, you always have your breath! Breathing exercises are one of the most helpful, efficient ways to reduce stress and effective breathing techniques require you to inhale and exhale in a way that will require you to pay attention to your jaw. Our Krengel Dental team likes calming breathing exercises including ‘4-7-8 breathing.’ To practice 4-7-8 breathing, breathe in through your nose for 4 slow counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, and slowly breathe out for 8 counts, focusing on slowing your breath down and relaxing the jaw. 4-7-8 breathing is just one example of an exercise that can lower stress and reduce tension in your face and jaw.
Looking for other breathing exercises or ways to lower stress or combat teeth grinding? As always, your Krengel Dental team is here for you. Call us now (952-888-1311) and we will get you taken care of.