Learn how to combat stress-induced jaw clenching with practical strategies and innovative tools like Healium.
Jaw clenching, commonly a response to stress, can significantly impact your well-being, leading to a range of dental problems. This involuntary action, known as bruxism, puts excessive pressure on the temporomandibular joint, causing discomfort and even chronic pain.
This blog post delves into the scientific understanding of the connection between stress and bruxism, as well as strategies to use to stop clenching your jaw.
When stressed, the body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, triggering the fight-or-flight response. This can lead to increased muscle tension, particularly in the jaw, as the body prepares for potential physical action.
The science behind this connection between stress and jaw clenching has been well-documented over the years. The European Journal of Neuroscience found that mental stress significantly influenced motor neuron behavior, which is directly related to involuntary contractions and jaw clenching and suggests a clear link.
Studies also suggest that this issue is more widespread than one might think. In fact, another study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation reported that 20% of the adult population experiences awake bruxism, defined as the awareness of jaw clenching, and identified stress and anxiety as major risk factors.
• Awareness and Relaxation Techniques:
Becoming aware of your jaw clenching habit is the first step. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation to reduce overall stress levels.
• Physical Exercises:
Gentle jaw exercises can help relax the jaw muscles. Slowly opening and closing your mouth, moving the jaw from side to side, and practicing jaw stretching can be beneficial.
Applying warm compresses to the jaw area can help relax the muscles, reduce pain, and alleviate the tension caused by clenching.
Consult a dentist or physical therapist for specialized exercises and potential use of a night guard if clenching occurs during sleep.
Addressing the root cause, which is often stress, can be critical. Engage in activities that reduce stress, such as regular physical exercise, yoga, meditation, or engaging in hobbies.
Combating jaw clenching due to stress involves a combination of physical exercises, relaxation techniques, and stress management strategies. Technologies like Healium can add a novel dimension to managing stress and, by extension, reduce jaw clenching.
Healium offers a unique solution combining virtual reality (VR) and biofeedback to manage stress effectively. By visualizing your stress levels and learning to control them through VR experiences, you can indirectly tackle habits like jaw clenching.
Healium’s biofeedback technology provides real-time feedback on your stress levels, enabling you to practice and improve stress management techniques.
To learn more about how Healium works, watch this video.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for any health-related concerns. Healium is not a replacement for professional counseling or psychotropic mediation.
Sarah Hill, a former interactive TV news journalist at NBC, ABC, and CBS affiliates in Missouri, gained recognition for pioneering interactive news broadcasting using Google Hangouts. She is now the CEO of Healium, the world’s first biometrically powered VR/AR channel, helping those with stress, anxiety, insomnia, and other struggles through biofeedback storytelling. With patents, clinical validation, and over seven million views, she has reshaped the landscape of immersive media.