The early morning blues are a broadly familiar tune. Even the most indefatigable 6 AM riser suffers from the occasional unwelcome jolt of an alarm in the middle of that particularly sunny beach dream. But what about a dull ache in the jaw or tooth accompanied by a slight, unexplained headache?
If the latter is what tends to greet you to the day, it may be time to do something about it. However it is that you usually wake or are woken, aching teeth do not have to be a part of your morning ritual. The first step toward a remedy is identifying the root of the problem. Thankfully, we’re here to help!
Why Does It Happen?
The following are the most common reasons for jaw and toothaches in the wee hours of the day:
1. Night Grinding or Clenching
A sizable chunk of adults fall victim to this subconscious habit known in the medical community as bruxism. Occasional bruxism is relatively widespread in adults. Mostly, people report clenching during the day in response to stressful or upsetting circumstances, but those instances are usually noticed right away.
If you are waking up with a sore jaw or sensitive teeth, you may be part of the smaller percentage of cases that experience recurring bruxism during sleep, and might be prone to potentially greater health implications. In general, research shows that night grinding may afflict as many as 1 in 10 adults.
In children, incidence of bruxism can be as high as 15%, often correlating with developmental periods when the child is losing teeth or when the permanent set is being formed.
2. Cavity or Irritated Gums
We know it’s tempting to lull yourself to sleep via Netflix and a bag of popcorn... We’ve all been there! If you’re continuously finding yourself with tooth and gum pains in the morning, however, we urge you to start willing yourself out of bed as those credits begin to roll and attending to your dental hygiene. That means brushing your teeth and flossing because it’s likely that you’re leaving those harmless popcorn kernels where they don’t belong...
3. Sinus Infection
It’s also possible that there is a sinus infection afoot. A fairly common symptom stemming from the inflammation is sharp pain near the upper teeth where the sinuses are located, resulting in what feels like a toothache. If your dentist rules out dental causes like night grinding or cavities, this is a likely explanation.
4. Sleep Position
Sometimes the best explanations are the simple ones. Before you put your dentist on speed dial, consider that these issues could also be a symptom of the way that you sleep! Depending on the type of pain you’re experiencing, a sore jaw could be caused by sleeping too close to bed frames or headboards, or with your arms and hands wedged close to your face. This is especially true of those who tend to leave rings and jewelry on at night.
So What Should You Do?
Night bruxism varies in severity, and can be addressed with solutions as simple as engaging in stress reducing behaviors like massage or meditation to simply, putting away electronic devices to ensure uninterrupted sleep. For anything in between, night grinding mouth guards like the SOVA Guard provide affordable protection for your teeth.
For the sleeper contortionist, removing rings and bracelets and practice sleeping away from the hard surface of the headboard or with your arms at your sides rather than pressed against your face.
Remember: If your teeth become extremely worn and sensitive, the pain escalates, or you develop lockjaw, you should see your doctor.
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