Can yoga help you deal with bruxism or teeth grinding?

Do you clench and grind your teeth while sleeping? That could be owing to stress and yoga and meditation may help, experts say. While many people may not realize it, teeth-grinding is not just simply annoying, it could also be causing headaches, jaw pain and wearing down of your teeth.

Stress is a known aggravator of bruxism. When you are stressed, you gain energy that needs to be released somehow – and for certain people, that ‘somehow’ comes in the form of muscle contractions. ‘Everyone responds to stress in a different way – what stresses you out may stress me differently,’ Messina was quoted as saying by Huffington Post.

If you have an existing bite issue and you throw in some stress, the body may find clenching and grinding as a relief, he added. Meditation, yoga and mindfulness could be your ticket to less grinding, said Messina, as these techniques help lower stress and reduce tension and muscle activity. Also, cut out the caffeine and alcohol and avoid chewing gum, he noted.

How is Bruxism Treated?
In many cases, no treatment is necessary. However, if the problem is severe, treatment options include certain therapies and medications. The appropriate treatment for you will depend on what is causing the problem. By asking careful questions and thoroughly examining your teeth, your dentist can help you determine the potential source of your bruxism. Based on the amount of tooth damage and its likely cause, your dentist may suggest:

Wearing an appliance while sleeping: A custom made appliance that slips over the upper teeth and protects them from grinding against the lower teeth. While an appliance is a good way to manage bruxism, it is not a cure.

Finding ways to relax: Because everyday stress seems to be a major cause of bruxism, anything that reduces stress can help- listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or a bath. It may help to seek counseling to learn effective ways for handling stressful situations. Also, applying a warm, wet washcloth to the side of your face can help relax muscles sore from clenching.

Correcting misaligned teeth: It may help if your bruxism is associated with dental problems. One solution is reducing the ‘high spots’ of one or more teeth to even your bite. An abnormal bite, the one in which teeth do not fit well together, may also be corrected with new fillings, crowns or orthodontics. Reconstructive treatment can be quite extensive and will correct the wear. This however may not stop the bruxism.

Most important thing when you suffer from bruxism is to know the root cause. Visit your dentist if you see any signs of bruxism, as he can diagnose the exact problem and suggest the best treatment that gives you relief.

Source: The Health Site

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