One of the most prevalent dental disorders in the United States is bruxism. Statistics show that at least 15 percent of children and 10 percent of American adults suffer from bruxism. While the condition has many known causes, stress is considered one of the most common.
You’re probably wondering, what is bruxism, and how is it related to stress? Simply put, bruxism is a condition where you gnash, clench, and grind your teeth. If you have bruxism, you can clench your teeth while awake (awake bruxism) or while asleep (sleep bruxism).
The connection between stress and bruxism is well documented. A 2011 study done by the National Institute on Aging indicated that bruxism is more common among individuals suffering from depression and anxiety.
The study also indicated that bruxism is considered one of the physical manifestations of stress and anxiety. If you have bruxism and stress, lowering your stress might put a stop to teeth grinding.
Ways to Effectively Lower Stress Levels (And Stop Teeth Grinding)
Reducing stress levels can provide various benefits. Apart from treating bruxism, minimizing stress can also help lower your risk of cancer, depression, and other stress-related conditions. Below are some of the most effective ways to reduce stress:
Get enough exercise
Exercise is considered one of the most effective ways to combat stress because of the following reasons:
- It can limit stress hormones. Exercise has been known to decrease the body’s stress hormones effectively. Exercise can also help release endorphins, a chemical produced by the body to relieve pain and stress and improve mood.
- Exercise can improve sleep quality dramatically. Often, sleep is one of the first things that gets affected when you are anxious or stressed. Ample exercise has been known to help promote healthier sleep. When your sleep quality is better, you can banish bruxism naturally.
- It can improve your state of mind. Exercising can also help you organize your days more efficiently so you can manage your stress better. Also, when your mental health gets better, your overall life outlook will also improve.
Take supplements for your health
Diet and supplementation have also been known to help reduce anxiety and stress. If bruxism is caused by stress, using the following supplements might help:
- Ashwagandha. Used widely in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha has been used to treat anxiety and stress. Ashwagandha has also been known to soothe the nervous system so you can relax.
- Green tea. Rather than drinking numerous cups of coffee daily, drink green tea instead. Green tea is known to contain polyphenol antioxidants that can decrease anxiety and boost serotonin levels.
- Valerian root. Valerian root is a favorite among those who have trouble sleeping but don’t want to use harsh medications. Valerian root contains valerenic acid, a component known to help reduce anxiety.
Some studies show that even a few minutes of meditation daily can already have a profound impact on your stress levels. If you want to give meditation a try, it is reassuring to know you now have easy access to simple apps like Headspace. The guided meditations can last 5, 10, or 20 minutes so you can easily incorporate them into your daily life.
When to Visit Your Dentist
There are many ways to limit stress levels. Meditation, supplements, and exercise are just some ways you can employ to minimize stress levels. When you are able to reduce stress, you can also treat stress-induced bruxism. If your teeth have been ruined by teeth grinding, you can also visit a cosmetic dentist to help bring their beauty back.
If you have tried various stress reduction methods but in vain, it is ideal that you visit your dentist right away. Your dentist can recommend treatment options that are best for your case.