Bruxism and Stress: The Hidden Wear and tear that Impacts your Health and Well-Being
Hundreds of thousands of women live with the symptoms of a silent disease that can affect our health in multiple ways: bruxism. If you grind your teeth every night and wake up with your jaw clenched and sore from exertion, you may be suffering without even realizing it.
It is estimated that 20% of the world population suffers from this disease, which mainly affects women between the ages of 35 and 45 and is closely linked to stress levels. The higher the stress level, the six times more likely to report bruxism.
According to the Council of Dentists of Spain, bruxism is the dental diagnosis that has increased the most since the pandemic, almost quadrupling: its incidence among the population has gone from 6% to 23%.
Is stress affecting your teeth, your bite and even your jaw? Keep reading to learn more about this disease that has no cure but that you can alleviate and treat to control its frequency.
How to know when we suffer from Bruxism?
During sleep, people are usually unaware that they are grinding their teeth and can apply considerable pressure, up to 250 pounds of force, which can wear down teeth, cause jaw and neck pain, trigger headaches, and lead to problems long-term in the mandibular joint.
"This dental disorder causes deterioration of the dental pieces because they wear excessively, finally chipping and breaking, complicating the entire organism," explained Dr. Ítalo Funes Rumiche, former director of the Peruvian Dental College (COP).
However, sleep bruxism, or what we popularly think of as clenching/grinding the teeth when we sleep (either night or day) also happens while we are awake, many people unconsciously apply jaw tension, dental contact, or clenching and become He calls it waking bruxism.
The most common way to identify whether or not you are suffering from sleep or wake bruxism is when you visit the dentist and have regular exams that check for sensitivity, chipped teeth, and more worn-out tooth enamel than normal.
Not everyone with sleep bruxism needs treatment, but when there are frequent symptoms of morning headaches and jaw pain, unrefreshing sleep, or risk of long-term tooth damage, several treatment options may be considered.
If a bad bite has already been ruled out, stress and poorly digested feelings stand as the main triggers for Bruxism, as confirmed by numerous studies on this subject published in the prestigious US National Library of Medicine .
What to do if Bruxism has no cure?
"We must learn to manage emotions, know where the limits are and set priorities," advises Liu Zheng, a graduate in Chinese medicine and director of the Medizen Clinic in Madrid, referring to the crucial need to go to the root of the problem.
There are a variety of alternatives to deal with the situation and reduce both stress and the effects of bruxism in your life. Here are some possible alternatives you might consider:
Relaxation techniques: Practicing meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or mindfulness can help reduce stress and muscle tension, which in turn can decrease bruxism. These techniques can be done at any time and place, and do not require much time or specialized equipment, the important thing is to be constant in them to see the positive effect. We recommend this 10-minute guided meditation to practice every morning ( https://youtu.be/thh9RmEkD_Q )
Regular exercise: Maintaining a physical exercise routine can release endorphins and reduce stress. Also, exercise can help release tension built up in the body. In other articles on this blog we have suggested some routines and techniques to keep you motivated.
Therapy: Individual or group therapy with a psychologist or counselor can be very effective in addressing underlying stress and learning coping strategies. Additionally, a mental health professional can provide you with specific guidance on managing stress.
Set limits : Learning to say "NO" when necessary and setting clear limits on work and personal responsibilities can help reduce stress.
Time for self-care: Prioritizing self-care is essential. Setting aside time for relaxing activities, such as taking relaxing baths, reading, listening to music, or pursuing hobbies, can reduce stress.
Time management: Effectively organizing and planning daily tasks can help reduce feelings of being overwhelmed and stress.
Avoid stimulants: Reducing caffeine and other stimulants can improve sleep quality and reduce nocturnal bruxism. Excess sugar, caffeine and other exciting substances have been proven to alter the nervous system and deplete the vitamin and mineral resources that the body steals from the teeth and/or bones.
Consult health professionals: A specialized dentist can design a custom mouthguard to prevent tooth damage caused by bruxism.
Mouthguards hold the jaw in a certain position and/or provide a barrier to minimize tooth damage from grinding. Although they do not cure sleep bruxism, mouth guards can lessen the impact of bruxism.
Pursue hobbies: Spending time on activities that bring you joy and satisfaction can be a great way to distract yourself from stress.
Digital disconnection : Setting limits on the use of electronic devices and social networks can help improve the quality of sleep and reduce exposure to stressful stimuli.
Can CBD help me with bruxism?
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been the subject of scientific interest for its potential to relieve stress and anxiety in some people. It has been shown that there are ways in which a dropper of our CBD oil, CBD Zen could help:
Anxiety reduction : It has been suggested that CBD may influence the receptors of the endocannabinoid system (think of an orchestra conductor, that is what this system is in your body, it directs many internal processes), which could have an effect anxiolytic in some people. For those dealing with anxiety due to stress, CBD may help calm feelings of nervousness and worry.
Promotion of relaxation : CBD Zen may have relaxing properties that can help relieve physical and mental tension caused by stress. This could be especially helpful in reducing the likelihood of clenching or grinding your teeth during the day or night.
Sleep improvement : Stress and anxiety can negatively affect the quality of sleep. Some people have reported that CBD can help improve sleep quality by inducing a sense of calm and relaxation.
Pain Relief : If bruxism has caused pain in the jaw, head, or other areas of tension, CBD Zen has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that may help reduce discomfort.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which plays a role in stress regulation and emotional balance. By influencing this system, CBD Zen could help mitigate some of the negative effects of stress.
In conclusion, bruxism stands as a silent challenge that affects the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of women around the world. Although there is no definitive cure, understanding its symptoms and its connections to stress opens the door to the possibility of relieving and managing its effects. Through relaxation techniques, exercise, therapy, and other approaches, tension can be eased and balance restored. Furthermore, the potential of CBD in stress management adds a promising dimension to the search for solutions.
Why bruxism occurs and how to treat it
Bruxism: what it is, why it occurs and how to treat it
How to Stop Teeth Grinding During Sleep
Sleep bruxism: An age-old and troubled sleep disorder