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The Oral Health and Headache Connection

Posted on June 10, 2016 in General oral health


DD_photo05_TDid you know that grinding or clenching your teeth or jaw can lead to a headache? Delta Dental of Illinois wants to bring attention to the connection between teeth grinding or clenching and headaches.

Some people habitually grind or clench their teeth while sleeping due to stress or anxiety, making them completely unaware that the problem exists. Others may unconsciously clench their teeth and jaw when they are awake.

Unsure if you grind or clench your teeth? According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • Flattened or fractured teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • An increase in tooth sensitivity
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles
  • Pain similar to an earache
  • Headaches originating from in the temples
  • Damage to the inside of your cheek resulting from unconscious chewing

Most people experience tension headaches as a result of grinding or clenching their teeth from time to time. If you grind or clench your teeth, choosing to wear a mouthguard to bed, along with managing stress, can help prevent the unconscious grinding and even reduce your tension headaches.

Here are some simple ways you can help reduce stress that may lead to tension headaches in your daily life:

  • Set aside time for an activity you enjoy every day.
  • Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals and be sure to sleep the recommended amount of time.
  • Manage stress with regular exercise.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, like meditation and deep breathing.

In addition to reducing your stress, be sure to maintain good oral health habits, such as brushing your teeth twice and flossing once every day and visiting the dentist on a regular basis. Talk with your dentist if you think teeth grinding or clenching may be contributing to your headaches.

Are you looking for a dentist? Find out how visiting a Delta Dental network dentist can help you save money.