So my best friend came up to me one morning after one of our many weekend slumber parties and told me she needed to get something off her chest.
As I hyped myself up for some all-exclusive gossip, I was met with shock instead – the unpleasant kind.
She had been sleeping in the living room for the past few occasions because I’ve been grinding my teeth so loudly, she just could not sleep at all.
Read more: The Mattress Phenomenon: What is It, and Why Most of Us Have It.
The Nightly Grind
I had absolutely no idea I had this habit until it was highlighted to me by my poor couch-crashing friend, but then again no one really does until they’re told.
Scientifically known as bruxism, teeth grinding or jaw clenching are often caused by elevated levels of stress or anxiety and are recurring conditions if not deterred early.
Symptoms that might suggest that you might suffer from bruxism include constant aching of the jaw, headaches, earaches, increased tooth sensitivity, and broken teeth or fillings.
If you exhibit any frequent signs of the symptoms above, its best to go for a dental check-up to ascertain the issue because long-term effects of grinding your teeth can lead to infections, dental abscesses, and even muscular disorders.
Read more: Amp up your skincare routine with Ampoules
Square in the Jaw
Apart from factors more felt than seen, grinding your teeth can also alter your outward appearance.
Your jaw muscles go into overdrive at night when it happens, and in the long run thickens your lower jaw, quashing your hopes of ever achieving that much-coveted V-shaped jaw.
A dentist might recommend a silicone mouth guard to prevent your teeth from making contact as a form of a safeguard against bruxism, on top of muscle relaxants to cushion the intensity of teeth-grinding.
But let’s face it – wearing a mouthguard and waking up to pools of saliva on your pillow, and excess usage of muscle relaxants are hardly ever any feasible long-term remedies to bruxism.
Read more: 10 really (really) good tips for youthful skin
As if the news of teeth-grinding affecting my jawline was not enough to rock my world, I further found out that the skin around my neck will not be spared from this subconscious (read: unconscious) habit of mine too.
It turns out that all of our facial movements are directly connect to a set of muscles known as the platysma muscles, present on our neck. Prolonged facial actions will cause these muscles to be constantly pulled and stretched, ultimately loosening the fragile skin on the neck and causing it to sag.
Reading about the horrors of turkey neck, complete with visuals also lead me to this interesting procedure known as the Nefertiti Lift, a zero-downtime procedure involving muscle-relaxing microinjections administered at strategic spots of the neck.
The result? An overall firming and tightening of the skin around the neck, hold the turkey please!\
Read more: Here’s how to treat these 5 common post-partum skin woes
Halting the Grind
Making lifestyle changes like cutting back on caffeine and alcohol are said to alleviate the occurrences of teeth-grinding.
Of course, taking time to unwind and clearing your head before bed helps to lower stress and anxiety levels – those might help too.
A more long-term solution to this problem lies in a widely-practiced aesthetic procedure most people undergo for other purposes – Botox.
Better known as the botox masseter in this context, this procedure more renowned for anti-wrinkle purposes is the long-running means to the end of your grinding.
Injections in this instance are injected into your masseter muscle, the predominant controller of all your chewing and grinding.
The Botox that is introduced to the muscle blocks the signals the nerves to the muscle, incapacitating its subconscious function greatly.
Teeth-grinding while you’re unawares is therefore greatly reduced, if not completely halted… along with all the kinds of ailments that accompany the grinding of your teeth.
The bonus of Botox?
Your skin’s sagging is also reduced by the effects of Botox, as will your jawline due to the relaxation of the masseter, giving you a slimmer face shape – much closer to V-shape glory.
Read more: Get that spark back! 5 ways for women to improve sexual intimacy