Holiday planning and get-togethers bring extra stress to the busiest time of the year. This stress can lead to muscle tension, tooth pain, and headaches. While your dentist can't do the shopping for you or try to please your father-in-law, your dentist can still be very beneficial.
· Massage: Scheduling an hour of therapeutic massage can be just the relief you need. Massage therapists are usually on-time and the cost is minimal so this won't add to your stress. Most importantly, a certified massage therapist can relieve muscle tension, TMJ pain and headaches.
· Exercise: When things get busy, exercise is frequently the first thing to get cut out of your daily schedule. Don't fall into this trap. Exercise instantly improves self-esteem, helps you sleep, relieves stress, and burns off those rich holiday calories.
· Get a night guard: So many people clench or grind their teeth. This can cause all kinds of uncomfortable problems with your jaw, such as morning headaches, which will add to your stress. A custom night guard can be made by your dentist that will protect your teeth, and relax your jaw muscles. People who wear night guards love them!
· Hot towels: At bedtime, hot towels applied to your face and jaw muscles will help you relax. The moist heat will help prevent clenching and grinding by relaxing the muscles. Additionally, the moisture helps open up your nasal passages which are often clogged at this time of the year because of colds and dry furnace heat. It is so much easier to sleep when you can breathe!
· Be conscious of keeping your teeth apart: The vast majority of people clench or grind their teeth-and they don't know that they are doing it! During the day, be conscious of keeping your teeth slightly separated. You will be amazed at how this trick can relax you.
· Breathe!: Don't forget to breathe! Take big, deep breaths from your diaphragm. This will relax you instantly.