Fibromyalgia and Bruxism…What’s the Connection?

Just the mere mention of the word, ‘Dentist’, and I’m running for the hills.  Nothing personal, if my dentist ever happens to read this…you’re a nice guy!

Since the onset of fibro, I have definitely had more problems with my teeth including sensitivity to, well…everything.  I have also experienced flares after having dental work done. 

Visit after visit, flare after flare promoted me to look into…

‘Is there a connection between fibromyalgia and dental health.’

My dentist was unaware of any connection between fibro and dental problems, but it is something that I have heard others living with fibro talk about. 

Well as with all thing’s fibro…there are so few, if any solid answers. But I have found these…

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, can be linked to certain medications taken for fibro, but I am not on any medication other than for my thyroid.  Despite this, I have noticed my mouth is far dryer for no particular reason.  Saliva, neutralizes acids and sugars and without enough saliva the teeth are left open to decay and disease. 

Bruxism

Do you clench and grind your teeth?  This is known as bruxism. At first, I wasn’t even aware I was doing this so frequently. On waking in the morning, my back teeth would be tightly clenched and my jaw aching. The first time it happened I didn’t take much notice, but then it started to happen every morning. This was then leading to frequent headaches, especially first thing in the morning.

What I hadn’t noticed was how often I was doing this through the day, especially when I focused on something. It got to the stage where I actually cracked my back tooth…OUCH!  

Why are people with fibromyalgia prone to bruxism?

Life with fibromyalgia means that we have chronic activation of the fear or anxiety response which Bruxism is understood to be linked to. Stress is also linked to bruxism and we know only too well how stress can induce more flares. Nocturnal bruxism is most common, so the clenching and grinding goes on, causing sleep disturbance (that sounds almost x rated…I am talking about teeth here). Your dentist will notice excessive wear and tear on your teeth and this could lead to breaking as it did with mine.  Furthermore, this can lead to a potentially serious jaw condition known as Temporomandibular Disorder. Both Bruxism and Temporomandibular Disorder can have serious consequences for oral health.

What helps to alleviate bruxism?

If you notice during the day you are grinding and clenching your teeth, and notice you are waking with an aching jaw, headache, painful neck or even your back teeth tightly clenched, visit your dentist who will be able to diagnose bruxism.  Your dentist will be able to make a mouth guard or mouth splint which will prevent your upper and lower teeth from further damage. Mouth guards are available to purchase from your pharmacist but are unlikely to fit as well as a custom made one, and it really needs to be as comfortable as possible.

As bruxism is linked with stress and anxiety, CBT, NLP and Mindfulness are also beneficial to help reduce emotional triggers.

A bed time routine is an effective way to alleviate bruxism and is also very important when living with fibro. 

Unwind before bed

Deep breathing exercises

Having a warm/hot magnesium bath

Use the stress relief exercise before you sleep

Turn off all blue light, such as lap tops, pc’s, etc at least an hour before you sleep.

Meditate before you sleep.

Don’t let the memory of a stressful day fester in your mind.  Get all your thoughts down in your journal before you try to sleep.

Have you experienced problems with bruxism? If so, we’d love to know what helped you. Drop a comment below or get in touch xx

Have a wonderful day xx

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