Tis the season to be jolly... not grinding!

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For most people, the holiday season is a busy time of year -- full of many activities and celebrations. However, all of the holiday cheer and festivities can come with a lot of stress, potentially leading to oral health problems like stress-induced bruxism. While a little holiday stress is completely normal, the effects of stress on your oral health can be harmful in many ways. Signs and symptoms that indicate you could be suffering from stress-induced bruxism include:

·       Worn tooth enamel

·       Face pain rooted at the jawline

·       Earache-like pain

·       Headache in the temple area

·       Sores from chewing or biting the inside of your cheek

·       Grinding teeth during sleeping hours

 

Still not sure if you are a bruxer? Here are a couple more tell-tale signs:

Sleep disturbances: Bruxism ranks as the third most frequent abnormal sleep behavior. Some suffers become aware of their condition after seeking out help for severe sleep deprivation and exhaustion. They generally have no idea that they have been grinding their teeth at night, nor that it is the cause of their daytime drowsiness.

Damaged teeth and jaw pain: Individuals who suffer from sleep bruxism involuntarily clench their jaws throughout the night. Interestingly, the pressure that bruxers put on their jaws can equal up to 250 pounds of force, which, night after night, can cause extreme jaw pain and tooth wear over time. Tooth sensitivity is the least of the possible damages -- chipped, cracked, and severely worn teeth can result from excessive grinding, requiring extensive restorative treatments.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, don’t fret! Transmute your holiday stress into joy this year by taking part in some festive holiday fun! Here are some activities that you can enjoy through the holidays to lighten your stress load (and if all else fails, be sure to grab an OTIS custom-made night guard):

·       If you’ve never tried it, join a caroling group! You may feel a bit self-conscious singing in public at first, but it’s a lot fun!

·       Host a holiday-themed game night with friends and family. The holidays are the perfect time to break out the game boards, and game nights can offer the best budget-friendly fun.

·       Give back! Simple acts of kindness will make your hectic holiday season more meaningful and enjoyable. Handing out food to the homeless, contributing to a toy drive or donating a warm coat are all great ideas!

·       Get some rest. The holidays can be crazy, with lots of activities to partake in and gatherings to attend. Be sure to make space for some “me-time” to fully rest, recuperate and prepare for another year.

·       Have an attitude of gratitude. While there are definitely a lot of stresses going on, be sure to remind yourself about all of the things there are to be grateful for.

Don’t let the holiday madness get you down this year. Trust OTIS to protect your teeth while you sleep with a custom made night guard that’ll take one stress off your shoulder.