Are you going through a stressful period in your life right now? As personal as that question might seem, if you are waking up with aching jaw muscles and a headache, stress could very well be to blame. The most likely cause of morning aches in your jaw and head is bruxism, or nighttime grinding. Although you are in dreamland, your jaw is moving and pushing your teeth together.
The result is aches and pains, as well as worn down teeth and eventual gum recession if you fail to do anything about it. But how does stress cause you to grind your teeth while asleep?
It's All in the Muscles
When you go through a short-term period of stress, your body helps you out by preparing itself for action. For instance, your muscles become ready to spring into action, and your body releases hormones that make your heart beat faster. These bodily reactions are natural and help you to respond quickly if need be.
However, when you experience chronic stress that doesn't go away because the thing that caused the stress remains, such as unpaid bills, for example, your body remains in this heightened state for longer than you need. As a result, your muscles tighten up. And, they remain that way day after day, giving you a whole host of aches throughout your body.
And when your neck muscles are affected, your head position changes throughout the day and when you sleep. This difference in position moves your teeth out of their normal alignment. In response to this change in your bite, your brain tries to correct this misalignment by pushing your teeth together to find the correct alignment.
When you wake up in the morning then, your jaw aches, and you may also have a toothache. Fortunately, you can do something to remedy bruxism until this stressful period passes.
Ask Your Dentist for a Dental Splint
Eventually, this period of stress will pass. However, until then, you need to protect your teeth. Ask your dentist about a dental splint. Dental splints are also called night guards or occlusal splints, and they fit over your teeth in much the same way as a sports mouth guard does, to protect them during the night.
To create your dental splint, your dentist will first make an impression of your bite, and then create your custom dental splint from medical grade plastic. By wearing your dental splint every night, you can protect your teeth from wear and tear, and you will no longer suffer from headaches or jaw ache in the morning.
For more information on dental splits, reach out to a dentist.