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Grinding My Teeth

July 16, 2010

Several mornings this week I’ve woken with a headache and sore teeth.  I can’t point to anything in particular that is causing me stress.  So I ask you, why am I grinding my teeth?

This isn’t new, I go through little teeth grinding bouts from time to time.  I just wish I understood them.  Why do people grind their teeth?  What the heck ELSE am I doing while I sleep?  And my biggest question:  How do night guards actually help?  ‘Cause I can tell you for a fact that I’m still biting down.  My night guard (and yes, I guess I’ll have to pull it out again for the next few days) has gotten thinner over time.  So while I might be saving tooth enamel, I’m certainly not stopping the objectional behavior in question.  Namely, the grinding.

These are the things that keep me up at night.  Huh, maybe I’m grinding my teeth about grinding my teeth.

Trippy, right?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2010 11:52 am

    I did that and it cost thousands of dollars including having a cavity re-done, etc, etc, until they (or I) diagnosed that it was just teeth grinding and clenching. And the cause? My sister’s tumultuous divorce…

    I think the night guard works by not allowing you to put as much pressure as usual on the teeth. I never had the final one made. Ended up buying a generic which is very uncomfortable.

  2. July 16, 2010 3:04 pm

    I’ve been going through a similar phase lately, although instead of grinding my teeth, I’m clenching my jaw. So I wake up each morning with a headache and painfully sore teeth. I’ve found that if I actively relax my body each night before I got to bed, it’s a little bit better, but still. I don’t know how to stop it or make it better. A true pain in the butt (or jaw, I guess).

  3. Juice permalink*
    July 16, 2010 3:32 pm

    Marisa, I’m not sure if I’m grinding or clenching. I’ll try the relaxing tip though – anything to help!

    Sorry you are dealing with this too. It stinks! Hope you feel better soon.

  4. July 16, 2010 8:05 pm

    My husband grinds his teeth in his sleep. He has a generic tooth guard, and it’s blue, so he calls it his “bluetooth.” 😉

    Here are some tips from the Web MD article I just peeked at. (Item #2 seems non-intuitive to me, but oh well)

    “Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:

    Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.
    Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
    Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
    Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
    Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.”

    The article also mentions that children do this, too. The children’s section of the article mentions dehydration as a possible cause, so stay hydrated. (Just not with a latte or a margarita. Darn.)

    • Juice permalink*
      July 16, 2010 9:46 pm

      Ooh, Pubsgal, I’m a chronic gum chewer. Not so much in public (my Dad would be appalled) but in my car and especially at work to stave off snacking. I’m also a reformed pen and pencil chewer. I probably have jaw muscles of steel – the one part of my body that’s truly in shape. ha!

      Looks like I’ll have to learn to be present with my non-chewing self. Sigh.

  5. July 18, 2010 8:24 am

    I also clench my jaw and grind teeth in the night. I have a new night guard, it’s just a little tiny thing that caps my two front teeth, on top. I love it. I really works. I couldn’t believe how the headaches and all went away. Like you, I don’t need it every night, but when I do, it’s right there on the bedside table.

    Maybe you just need a trip to the dentist for a new one.

    It’s amazing how our body can dectect stress even before we can. I take a hot bath every night before bed. It’s so relaxing and then my body knows we’ve washed away the stress and can get a good night sleep.

  6. July 19, 2010 10:51 pm

    I have stretches when I do the same thing. I go to sleep on my side and I will put my hand under my face with my thumb under the cheekbone to keep my teeth apart. I’ve done that for about 20 years now.

  7. July 23, 2010 11:40 pm

    are you stressed? i’m not a teeth grinder, but both my husband and my oldest grinds their teeth. could it be hereditary?

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