Waking up with a sore jaw or a headache may indicate that you grind your teeth in your sleep. This condition, called bruxism, is primarily caused by stress. Symptoms include tooth sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks as well as pain while chewing. Sinus congestion can cause severe pressure on dental roots, leading sufferers to grind their teeth or clench the jaw. Misaligned dental work can also trigger bruxism, leading to unconscious grinding. This grinding causes noticeable noise in only 30% of patients.

Your dentist can diagnose the problem by feeling muscle tension in the jaw and face... observing if teeth are worn or cracked...and viewing X-rays. Treatments include reshaping and polishing of tooth enamel to improve tooth alignment and/or the use of a mouth guard during periods of excessive grinding.

To ease jaw pain: Place your palm or fist under your chin and push up while barely opening your jaw against resistance. Hold for one to two seconds. Repeat 30 times, twice a day. This will stretch and strengthen jaw muscles, which helps alleviate pain.

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