Stop Clenching My Jaw
Helpful Ways to Stop Clenching Your Jaw
As anyone can attest, it is not easy to stop clenching your jaw. Almost everyone has this problem, and although it does not always result in dental issues, it most certainly can. Because of this, being able to stop clenching your jaw and breaking this nasty habit can save you a lot of pain, discomfort, and money in years to come.
Why Is It So Hard to Do?
Being able to stop clenching your jaw is a very difficult skill to master. For many people, it feels as natural as breathing, and since it doesn’t cost money to do—like smoking, for example—it can be done without any voluntary effort or awareness. Breaking this habit is possible, but will require a great amount of diligence on your part.
You must also take into consideration the type of world we live in. Humans lead very stressful lives. As stress levels rise, our bodies begin to react to the burdens in physical ways. Some people get shoulder and neck pain; some clench their teeth and jaws.
Methods that Don’t Work
Many people are told to simply remind themselves not to clench their jaws. This is far simpler sounding than it actually is. Since jaw clenching for the most part is involuntary, it’s difficult to remain aware of the act constantly. Many people simply forget about their efforts and resume jaw clenching after unabated after a day or two.
Jaw massage, while a good start, does little or nothing to actually stop clenching on a long term basis. That does not mean it goes without any benefits. Massaging is a great way to help relieve tension in your jaw from habitual clenching. This can help reduce pain that you may be experiencing and inflammation in your jaw hinge.
Train Your Jaw
Instead of trying to remind yourself to stop clenching your jaw, consider trying to train it to be open. Many people clench because they are so entrenched in stress that they get used to their jaws remaining tight. You need to break through this conditioning by making it feel alien to your jaw.
Spend one hour a day with your jaw open. It doesn’t need to be gaping, but there should be enough space in between your teeth for a finger or two to fit in. While you may have some problems initially remembering to keep it open, it is much easier to remain vigilant doing this than simply not clenching. If you need help in the beginning, consider placing something in your teeth to keep them from closing. Don’t bite down on this item though; that will simply stimulate clenching muscles.
Ideally you should spend at least seven hours a week practicing this exercise. And while you won’t see results immediately, your jaw will eventually break the habit of clenching. Clenching will seem odd and irregular; keep a loose jaw will become the norm.
Relaxation Through Slurring
If you have so much stress in your life that you cannot perform the above exercise without breaking down into clenching fits halfway through, you may need to practice some relaxation techniques first. Go slack-jaw and allow yourself to slur as though you’ve been drugged, punched, or had one too many stiff drinks at the local bar.
While you may feel silly at first, this is a great exercise in mindfulness of your clenching habits, and can help loosen up your jaw enough to allow it to remain open. It can also alleviate tension and stress you’re containing elsewhere in your body, and provide some levity in a drab day. Enlist the support of a family member or friend that would like to stop clenching, and you can converse in this manner for a half hour each day.