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Change For Good,® Inc.
If you live in America and you grind your teeth, you are not alone. Statistics show that somewhere between 12% to as much as 20% of the population grind their teeth or clench their jaw. Women are twice as likely to grind their teeth than men. The term for this syndrome is “TMJ Disorder”, which stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, and it can be quite a difficult habit to break.
The difficulty lies in the fact that it happens when the subject is in deep sleep. An underlying thought process, which lies deep in the subconscious mind, begins the nightly routine, and before they know it, enamel on the tooth surface begins to wear away. By morning, the jaw is aching, many get headaches, and sometimes hearing can be affected.
People who suffer from TMJ may suffer from the following symptoms:
1. Unable to open the mouth wide.
2. Occasional locking of the jaw.
3. A clicking, popping or grating sound in the jaw.
4. Face pain.
5. Neck, shoulder or upper back pain.
7. Loss of energy or daily fatigue.
8. Pain in ears or hearing loss.
9. Tooth or gum pain and numbness.
The real question is: Why does it happen? Why would someone do something that creates so much pain? To answer this, one must first understand that there are a great many things that happen subconsciously that seemingly are out of our control. The fact is that we all have a tendency to hold stress somewhere in our body. Sometimes it is the lower or upper back, the stomach, the chest, the legs – somewhere!
The TMJ sufferer has learned over time that the safest and easiest way to deal with stress and tension is during the sleep cycle. Sometime after a deep sleep has begun, the jaw tightens and the grinding begins. This can persist for minutes, sometimes hours, each and every night. The greatest risk is to the tooth enamel and nerves. Over time, the teeth can become loose and the gums can recede. Most of the time the patient is unaware of the grinding until brought to their attention by a sleeping partner or dentist.
Stored stress and tension can be toxic. The concept of TMJ is similar in nature to the same experience as a backache, also called Tension Myositis Syndrome. Myo means muscle and is defined as a change of state in the muscle that is painful. Put simply, tension – in this case the jaw – causes the muscle to spasm. This leads to a loss of blood to the jaw area, sometimes causing numbness, and toxins normally carried by the blood are then dumped into the tissue, causing pain. The entire area is made up of muscles, tendons and ligaments. The TMJ is a very complex and important joint.