There is no question that “grinding your teeth” is a totally unconsciousness act that is the result of anxiety, stress, tension, or other outside stimulus getting the best of your tolerance levels. Few of us do not break into this habit when we are stressed. What is far more frustrating is that we often grind our teeth in our sleep. Either we fall asleep in a state of anxiety or a nightmare invades our rest and sends our mind into overdrive. Then, our jaw goes into a Gila monster-like clamp while grinding our teeth.1
#1 Dress For Sports At Bedtime
Ever notice the face of a football player? They have a black oily paint under their eyes and droll running out of their half-open mouths. Their teeth look like they have a gooey coating on them. Actually, the players are wearing a wax “mouth guard” to protect their teeth from a smack in the mouth. Now is the time for you to buy a wax “mouth guard” to wear at night. You can ask a dentist to make one for you or go to a local sports store and get a generic one. Oh, yes, you can skip the black oily paint under your eyes. In bed, there is no need to reduce reflected sunlight on your cheeks like football players.
#2 Spice It Up!
One of the challenges of being a new parent is dealing with a crying baby. He or she really suffers when teething. There is a lot of jaw pain. A natural way to ease that pain is to rub oil of clove on the gums. A parent can also use that method for themselves by soaking a wade of sterile cotton in oil of clove and biting on it. The spice will run along the gum line and ease the jaw pain with the numbing effect of the spice extract. Some parents have the same effect using a strong whisky on their fingertip and rubbing the sore gums of their children. This is the same solution used by cowboys on a trail ride when they suffered a toothache. You might have seen that done in old western movies!
#3 Turn on the Music
Adding a little movement to the jaw is often helpful. If you want to move to music, you may find a double whammy occurs, as soothing music is a great way to relieve stress. Just move your jaw slowly to the music and experience less pain over time.2
#4 Add A Little Frost
Commercial cold pack can be applied to the outside of the jaw. Most people find this is quite soothing unless the weather is very cold, and the victim feels too chilled. The cold tends to numb the sore area and ceases the pain fairly quickly. Try using a towel between the face and the cold pack if the chill is too much.
#5 Rub, Rub Gently
Simply using a gentle massage on the jaw and gum line will often increase the blood flow enough to ease jaw pain. Do not hesitate to have someone rub the lower cheeks of the face as that too will help to ease the pain. Keep in mind that the attention from another person is a great asset for some people when stress levels are high.2 A kind touch3 with a soothing voice as the massage is taking place may the best of all possible situations.
- Means-Christensen, A., Roy-Byrne, P., Sherbourne, S., Craske, M., and Stein, M. 2008. Relationships Among Pain, Anxiety, and Depression in Primary Care. Depression and Anxiety, Vol 25/7, pp 593-600.
- Deng, Gary and Barrie Cassileth, 2009. Integrative Oncology: Complementary Therapies for Pain, Anxiety, and Mood Disturbance. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Vol. 55, Issue 2, pp 109-116.
- Waxer, Peter, 1977. Nonverbal cues for anxiety: An examination of emotional leakage. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol 86(3), Jun 1977, 306-314