If you grind your teeth at night, it may be much more than a dental problem. According to a recent article in the NY Times, bruxism or teeth grinding may be a reaction to stress, which has been amplified under our current pandemic.
There are many theories as to why people’s teeth grind at night and the condition may be one of the most over-treated conditions with expensive mouth guards or retainers that do little to solve the problem.
From a chiropractor’s perspective, many people who have musculoskeletal problems in the lower back, legs, or shoulder also grind their teeth because the mechanical problems they have can create tension in the neck and cause a jaw imbalance. the sensation it creates also causes teeth grinding. Many people with a clicking jaw who do not have a history of trauma to the jaw often have problems in other areas of the body as well.
Chiropractors often treat bruxism by taking a whole-body approach as a result to get the best results. They often will work in conjunction with dentists since a bite imbalance can also cause grinding. Chiropractors will work on the spinal and extremity articulations as well as the cranial bones and muscles surrounding the jaw to improve the problem naturally.
The NY Times recently explored teeth grinding and offers some sound advice for those suffering from the condition.
Grind Your Teeth? Your Night Guard May Not Be the Right Fix
Some experts say tooth-grinding is a behavior rather than a disorder, and the dentist’s chair isn’t the best place to address it.
By Kate Murphy
Published Feb. 16, 2021
Everyday stressors like a report due at work, the refrigerator breaking, and the dog throwing up can sometimes make you want to grit your teeth. But layer on top of that a pandemic, economic uncertainty, and political upheaval, and you might start to give your jaw a serious workout — gritting and grinding with as much as 250 pounds of force.
Dentists have reported an increase in patients with tooth fractures since the start of the pandemic, which they attribute to bruxism, the technical term for gritting, grinding or clenching your teeth. Thought to be precipitated or exacerbated by stress and anxiety, bruxism is largely subconscious and often occurs during sleep. Most people don’t know they grind their teeth unless a dentist tells them so, based on tooth wear. Less obvious indicators include itchy or plugged ears, neck pain, and even premature aging of the face.