Other factors that can make bruxism worse include poor sleep hygiene and poor posture. If you're a light or poor sleeper, spending more time in non-REM sleep when people naturally have brux. This can be caused by stress, but it can also be caused by caffeine consumption or sleeping on your phone.
And we tend to take our postural habits with us to bed. If you are tight and clenched while waking, you are likely to be tight and clenched while you sleep, or at least it will take longer to relax. This is especially true now that people spend so much time bending their heads, necks and backs over their devices and forming a tight and orthopedically ill-advised “C”.
So the question is not so much whether you are bruxing, but why you may be bruxing more than normal and possibly causing jaw or dental problems. "Bruxism is not a disease," said Giles Lavigne, neuroscientist, dentist and professor at the University of Montreal. "It's just a behavior, and like any behavior, if it reaches a disruptive level you may need to consult someone."
Maybe a physical therapist who can teach you how to relax your jaw and do abdominal breathing. And maybe a psychologist can help you change behaviors that lead to an increase in bruxism, such as: B. Eating too much before bed and drinking more than your share of wine and whiskey.
However, simply being aware of the location of your mouth, tongue, and teeth throughout the day can go a long way in preventing teeth grinding. "Nobody knows where their tongue is when they are at rest," said Cheryl Cocca, a physical therapist at Good Shepherd Penn Partners in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, who treats patients with bruxism. She recommends constantly checking that you are breathing through your nose with your mouth closed, your tongue is resting on the roof of your mouth, and your teeth are apart. Set a timer when you need to remember or do it every time you stop at a red light or receive a text notification.
Part of the problem could be our modern diet. Growing body of evidence supports the ancient notion that after the agricultural and industrial revolutions, when humans began to eat foods that were better processed and easier to chew, we had smaller jaws than our ancestors and underdeveloped orofacial muscles. Researchers say we tend to breathe through our mouths with our tongues resting on the floor of the mouth.
"Watch people on the subway, watch people on the bus, they are all on their phones, their mouths are slightly open and breathing in and out. They are all especially children," said Dr. Tammy Chen, a prosthodontist in New York City, who wrote about the increase in tooth fractures. "Once the mouth is open, the tongue is down. The tongue should always be on top of the mouth, pushing up and out." This strengthens the muscles of the face and neck, expands the jaw and opens the airways.