What your jaw is trying to tell you

April 10, 2024

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Why are you clenching your teeth?

Picture this: you’re in the middle of a particularly stressful day – maybe you’re juggling work deadlines, wrangling the kids, and trying to keep your cool amidst the chaos of everyday life. And then it hits you – a dull ache in your temples, a knot of tension in your neck, and a throbbing pain behind your eyes. Yep, stress has officially taken up residence in your body.

Stress has a funny way of making itself known, and oftentimes, it shows up in the form of muscle tension, headaches, and body aches. Your shoulders hunch up towards your ears, your jaw clenches tight, and every muscle in your body feels like it’s wound up tighter than a spring. 

For many people, it gets worse at night. It’s like your body saying, “Hey, I’m stressed out, and I’m going to take it out on our poor, unsuspecting jaw while you try to sleep.” Trust me, I know firsthand just how painful and frustrating that can be.

There’s even a fancy word for it – Bruxism.

WHAT IS THAT?

Bruxism is an involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth, especially during sleep. I had no idea that I clenched my jaw until major pain started occurring at the dentist during cleanings, and I began getting migraines. It hurt so bad I needed to take a lot of breaks which meant two appointments to get all the work done! It was like a wake-up call from my body, telling me that I needed to address the root cause of my stress before it spiraled out of control.

For me, that meant prioritizing gut health as part of my stress management strategy. Cortisol, the stress hormone, has a profound impact on the gut, influencing its function and integrity. But here’s where it gets interesting – it works both ways. Imbalances in the gut microbiome can also influence how your body responds to stress. So addressing one can help the other. 

YOU TOO? SO WHAT NOW?

For starters, take a deep breath and try to relax those tense muscles. Practice deep breathing exercises, gentle stretches, or even treat yourself to a massage to help release built-up tension in your body.  

Then schedule an appointment with your dentist to explore treatments which may include a custom mouthguard to alleviate jaw clenching and protect your beautiful teeth. I know, sexy right?

If you’re tired of being tired because you are not sleeping restfully, because you’re busy grinding your teeth, counting sheep, or thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list… It’s time to start on my Stress Less Protocol

​I talk alot about these kinds of connections in our body and how stress impacts us in my newsletter. If you’re not on that yet, let’s be friends for real! Join my insiders list today!

WE’VE GOT THIS!

Remember you’re not alone in this. We’ve all been there – feeling like stress has taken over our bodies and left us feeling like a bundle of nerves. 

It’s been years since I needed two appointments at the dentist because my jaw was hurting, and I’m pretty pumped about that.

By taking proactive steps to manage stress and listen to what our bodies are telling us, we can reclaim our peace, our comfort, and our sanity, one day at a time. 

I'm Dana Lewis

Hi there!

When my fit husband died at forty from a cancerous tumor with little to no symptoms, it left stress to blame and lots of questions to be answered. As I began searching for answers, I learned about the microbiome and the power of this second brain. Ten years later, I am honored to be able to take what began as my pain and share it with you.