You’re Not a Human Coffee Grinder: How to Relax Your Jaw
If you’re one of the 30 to 40 million Americans that grind your teeth at night, you intimately know that helpless, sinking feeling that comes with waking up with a headache and sore jaw for the third time in a week.
While this feeling is awful, the reality is that you’re not helpless- there are some awesome ways that you can easily help yourself treat bruxism at home.
Read on to learn how to relax your jaw and eliminate the pains that come with teeth grinding!
Understand the Issue
Grinding your teeth at night is a problem for a wide variety of reasons- it’s painful, for one thing, but it can also cause long-term issues. Repeated jaw clenching and bruxism have the potential to create issues with your bite or other serious dental problems. Understanding the severity of the issue is the first step toward treatment because it serves as a motivator.
There are a few reasons that you may be having issues with teeth grinding. One possible cause is sleep apnea, which can be treated on its own. You also may simply have jaw clenching in response to stress and anxiety, which can usually be treated with a little self-care.
Unless you have an anxiety disorder (a totally different issue,) there are tons of ways that you can naturally reduce stress around bedtime. For one thing, you can take a warm bath or shower to relax your muscles. Consider getting natural bath oils– they’re perfect for some aromatherapy as well as relaxing your skin!
You’ll also want to turn off the electronics around bedtime- the blue light they emit keeps your brain active and therefore increases anxiety when turned off. Instead of watching TV or playing phone games, consider reading a good book or coloring an adult coloring page.
Relax Your Jaw Muscles
You can also focus on relaxing your jaw muscles around bedtime. Many people choose to practice relaxing their jaw muscles, repeating the mantra of ‘lips together, teeth apart’ to themselves. Put the tip of your tongue between your teeth during the day to train your muscles to stop grinding.
Also, you’re going to want to avoid chewing gum or anything else that isn’t food, including pencil tops. If you chew these things, you’re training your jaw to bite down naturally and exacerbating the problem.
At night, you can also relax your jaw by placing a damp, warm washcloth on the sides of your jaw beneath your ears. This is the perfect way to relax before falling asleep.
Use a Mouth Guard
Using a mouth guard for teeth grinding is also a way to protect against nighttime bruxism. These guards are comfortable and won’t inhibit you from sleeping, but they’ll also force you to keep your teeth apart at night. All in all, they’re the perfect way to train your mouth to remain in a ‘teeth-apart’ position.
More on How to Relax Your Jaw
While bruxism can be painful, there are ways to make the problem go away naturally.
Now that you know how to relax your jaw and improve your jaw clenching problem, it’s time to learn some other ways to stay healthy. Check out the ‘all articles’ tab on our home page for some more ideas on how to improve your lifestyle and keep issues like bruxism at bay.