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What Types of Dreams Make Us Grind Our Teeth?

Posted on December 21, 2011 | in Dental Care | by

Nobody wants to wake up ready for a brand new day with a headache this big…

If you all too often wake up with a headache or jaw soreness, teeth grinding at night could be the cause. Whatever dental dreams may come throughout the night, be it bad or good, sometimes our vivid dreams cause us to clench and grind our teeth.

Teeth grinding or bruxism, is not some phase only kids go through, and neither bad nor good dreams are the probable primary culprit when it comes to grinding our teeth at night.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the cause of bruxism is not completely agreed upon, but daily stress may be the trigger in many people.

Some people probably clench their teeth and never feel symptoms.

Whether or not bruxism causes pain and other problems may be a complicated mix of factors: Get Clear Savings on Vision Care

  • How much stress you are under
  • How long and tightly you clench and grind
  • Whether your teeth are misaligned
  • Your posture
  • Your ability to relax
  • Your diet
  • Your sleeping habits

Everyone is different and treatments vary depending on risk factors, severity, even environmental concerns.

Our best bet it to of course do the internet research we’ve all grown accustomed to, and put way to much stock into…but also talk to our dentists. An actual face to face conversation, we still have them right?

Self-Treatment Options – courtesy of U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Apply ice or wet heat to sore jaw muscles – either can have a beneficial effect.
  • Avoid eating hard foods like nuts, candies, steak.
  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Learn physical therapy stretching exercises to help restore a normal balance to the action of the muscles and joints on each side of the head.
  • Massage the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and face. Search carefully for small, painful nodules called trigger points that can cause pain throughout the head and face.
  • Relax your face and jaw muscles throughout the day. The goal is to make facial relaxation a habit.
  • Try to reduce your daily stress and learn relaxation techniques.

If we’re feeling the pressure in the morning – beyond normal make the kids breakfast, get them to school, go about life pressure – our best bet is to talk to our doctors and dentists about headaches or jaw pain.

TMJ disorder or TMD is no picnic, but with the help of dentists and sleep medicine professionals, we don’t have to suffer or only treat the pain apsects.

Other Treatment Options – courtesy of MayoClinic.com:

  • Massage Therapy
  • Stress Management
  • Splints & Mouthguards (not the sports ones…see dentist!)
  • Correcting Misaligned Teeth
  • Surgery (usually last resort)
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Yes…even Botox®

For even more treatment options and better yet – insights on what to ask your dentist, check out this video:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2W8xpW4Aoo&w=560&h=315]
 
And let us know what types of dreams you think make us grind our teeth…

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+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of DentalPatientNews.com, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
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