The material and contents of this post are for informational purposes only and are designed to provide helpful advice on the subjects discussed. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. For diagnosis or treatment of any medical or emotional condition, please consult your physician, mental health professional, or other qualified health provider.
So many people use a night guard. I’m talking A LOT of people. Ask around and I can all but guarantee you or someone you know uses one. The thing is, when you go to your doctor or dentist with this problem, they’re treating the symptom by giving you the guard and doing nothing about the actual problem. I liken it to the old tale about the Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the hole in the dam to stop the water from leaking. Remember that one? What happened? The water came out somewhere else. You can put a guard in your mouth but your symptoms will show up elsewhere .
Unless you have a cracked tooth or sleep apnea, your teeth clenching habit is a stress or anxiety response. You’re walking around with tension all day long and that carries into the night. Most people aren’t even aware when they’re doing it until they go to open wide for a bagel or chew something tough and realize it hurts or there is some serious clicking going on. So, if you want to really resolve the issue, let’s look at some techniques.
First you want to become more aware of what’s going on in your body. Try setting timers on your phone anywhere from 15 min apart to an hour (Fitbit is great for this because it automatically buzzes you at ten min to the hour or on the hour to encourage you to move). When your timer goes off, it’s time for a check in.
How do you check in? Notice any tension in your body. Take your tongue off the roof of your mouth and allow a space between the tongue and the roof. Breathe in the deepest breath you’ve had all day. That’s it. If you have time and can stretch too, bonus. Doing this over and over and over throughout the day is training you to be able to do it without a reminder eventually. It’s basic conditioning and it works!
There are tons of articles out there on this. I have lots on this site too. There’s no shortcut, no pill to magically make it disappear. You’re not a robot. You are a complex, wonderful being and deserve to be treated as such.
That means YOU need to treat YOU well.
Taking “me” time.
Getting enough sleep.
Setting realistic expectations for yourself and others.
These things are how you stop the water from coming out somewhere else in the dam. Wear your night guard and save those pearly whites, but if you don’t want this ”water” to come out as IBS, depression, anxiety, autoimmune responses, and headaches, it’s important to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Remember that more often than not, the body is telling you something is wrong and it’s up to you to listen!
Now breathe and get on with your day!❤️