The Holiday Season Brings Joy – and Maybe Some Bruxism

Holiday season brings bruxismTeeth grinding is not uncommon. What is interesting about this habit is that most people who do it are not aware of it. This is because grinding, called bruxism, is going on when we least expect it: when we sleep. If you grind or clench your jaw, you are at risk for noticeable discomfort, and even for tooth damage.

What does all this have to do with the holidays?

That’s a great question! According to research, the leading cause of bruxism is stress. Research also indicates that the holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of year. We rush from work to holiday parties, to the mall, and to bed to try and catch up on much-needed rest. All this rushing around, even when we enjoy it, is a trigger for excess stress. Here, we will discuss a few ways to make sure that holiday hoopla does not stress your teeth or mouth.

Stress: Let’s Talk about it

Stress is unavoidable. For that reason, experts encourage us all to develop ways to mitigate stressors when they arise. Before the holiday hustle and bustle even begins, make a list of activities that bring you peace of mind. This may be making sure that you exercise several times a week, or that you go for a walk during which you forget about the gift-list and to-do list for a little while, and just enjoy nature. When you take steps to relieve stress before it gets out of hand, you reduce your risk for bruxism during your sleeping hours.

Not all of the activities we perceive as relaxing are conducive to a good night’s sleep; one free of grinding and clenching. It may seem as though a few cocktails after dinner relaxes the mind and body. However, research suggests that the body kicks into sugar-burning mode a few hours after alcohol consumption. Other common ways to unwind include reading a gripping novel, playing video games, or catching up on episodes of Law & Order. Such hobbies could, in fact, stimulate the brain, causing restless sleep.

Stress is a major factor in bruxism, a condition that could wear down enamel and overwork the muscles and joints in the jaw. To enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season, remember the value of stress management.

We wish our patients a joyful holiday season!

Posted in: Dental Health

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