There are two forms of bruxism: awake bruxism(teeth grinding during the daytime) and sleep bruxism(involuntary and repetitive teeth grinding and jaw clenching while an individual is asleep). Both of which are brought about by involuntary and repetitive jaw muscle contractions which can be attributed to a variety of causes. In one of our previous posts, we covered the leading underlying causes of bruxism. In today’s post, we will delve into six everyday habits that can make bruxism symptoms worse. While these habits may be unrelated, they can, in different ways, make the condition worse in an individual.
Chewing gum or biting on a pencil, pen, toothpick, or other objects
Suppose you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding) or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) that causes you jaw pain, headaches, earaches, or toothaches. In that case, you need to avoid chewing gum, pens, or other objects. A lot of people who hear this may object and say chewing gum during the day distracts them from grinding their teeth. While this might be true to some extent, it can also make the symptoms worse. Chewing gum or constantly biting on your pencil allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching, which makes you more likely to suffer from bruxism symptoms.
Overconsumption of caffeine
It’s a well-known fact that caffeine is a stimulant. If you already suffer from bruxism, that extra cup of coffee may be making things worse for you. Especially if you are drinking it right before bed, the caffeine can elevate your energy and heart rate disrupting your sleep quality(something research has shown contributes to sleep bruxism in some cases.) So it’s best to ease off on the caffeine and switch to decaf or water.
Smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco
It seems like here at Dt Aesthetica we always have something negative to say regarding smoking. But jokes aside, smoking is a destructive habit that contributes to most of the conditions we treat here from premature skin ageing to thinning lips and in this case, chronic teeth grinding. Did you know that studies have shown that heavy smokers are twice more likely to grind their teeth than non-smokers! The stimulant nicotine has been shown to promote the jaw-clenching and tooth-grinding.
Being on your phone all the time
Today we live in a high-stress world. From anxiety about work, stressful relationships to pressure to perform well at school, there seems there’s always something to keep us stressed. Stress and anxiety are the leading cause of bruxism in adults. And our smartphones haven’t been of any help in this matter. Due to mobile technology, we have become more available and stay ‘on’ all the time. This means it becomes much harder to get totally away from work and relax. Stress management is one of the main ways to tackle stress-induced bruxism. This means making positive life changes, and a part of that may involve changing your phone habits.
Poor sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene” refers to specific actions and routines that you adopt into your everyday life in order to improve your sleep. Sleep bruxism is more prevalent than awake bruxism and for a good reason. Many people have very poor sleeping rituals from irregular sleep schedules to watching TV before bed. All these habits contribute to poor sleep quality that research has shown contributes to sleep bruxism.
For some people, the consumption of alcohol causes their teeth grinding to get worse. If you complain that your teeth pain is worse the next morning after drinking alcohol compared to nights when you don’t drink, you might be in this category. Studies have shown that alcohol alters the neurotransmitters in your brain, which can trigger muscles to hyperactivate, resulting in more clenching of the jaw muscles. Alcohol also disrupts sleep cycles which can lead to sleep disorders that contribute to sleep bruxism. So try cutting back on, or quitting altogether — for the good of your teeth as well as your overall health.
Treating Teeth Clenching at Dr Aesthetica
By making positive changes in your life and eliminating any everyday habits that may be making your bruxism symptoms worse, you stand a better chance of alleviating them.
We offer an effective treatment for bruxism using botox at our clinic. Once you book your consultation, our resident doctor will carefully evaluate your situation and recommend if Botox is the appropriate course of treatment. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment.