How to Avoid the Stress Monster

Stress is a normal part of daily life, but when it builds up, it can be a real monster. High stress levels can lead to teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. To dodge stress’ dangerous side effects, try this.

  1. Reduce your daily stress level. Work is often a huge stressor. Taking relaxation mini-breaks during the day can help you think clearly and feel more focused. Sitting at a desk can make your body stiff, so take periodic walks throughout the day to wake up your body.1
  2. Eat healthy and exercise. Stress levels can be affected by what you eat. Ditch the candy corn and replace it with real corn –i.e., fruits and veggies. Eating healthier foods and proteins can help lower stress by offering your body the nutrition it needs to keep energy levels high. Regular exercise also helps reduce stress by releasing chemicals like dopamine into your brain.2 This will make you feel happier, more relaxed, and less stressed!
  3. Try stretching and relaxing your face, neck, and shoulders. Do small stretches and mini-massages to loosen up tension in your jaw and avoid clenching. Practice relaxing your muscles until it becomes a habit. That habit will carry over into your sleep hours and potentially keep you from grinding your teeth.1
  4. Avoid distressing your jaw. If your TMJ (jaw joint) hurts, try not to chew gum, tough meat, or foods that require a lot of effort to grind up. Also avoid pain-causing actions like wide yawning, singing, or clenching your teeth.

If your jaw problems persist, ask a dentist or physician what you can do to stop the jaw pain. They have special mouthguards to help keep your jaw from locking up at night and stop your teeth from grinding.1 Physical therapy can also help you keep a relaxed mouth.1 Find a solution that works for you and get rid of stress!


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