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Do you have a headache every day? For those of you with a persistent, chronic pounding in your temples that just won’t go away, there may be a connection that you haven’t thought of.

Headaches are a common problem. Everybody gets them, and they can be caused by a plethora of things. Poor nutrition can be a factor—lack of a certain vitamin or mineral. A chemical imbalance like hormones can play a part. Even physical conditions can be the cause, like poor posture, or simple lack of sleep.

All of the above are the typical thoughts that run through a person’s mind when trying to sleuth out the issue, but have you considered the oral/dental angle? There is a condition known as bruxism, that is associated with sleeping disorders. Bruxism is the technical term for clenching of the jaw and/or grinding of the teeth at night.

Apart from the tooth damage that it can cause, bruxism tires out the powerful jaw and head muscles called the temporalis and the masseter muscles. The temporalis is a broad fan-shaped muscle on each side of the head covering the temples, and the masseter is the thick, rectangular muscle of the jaw. Both of these muscles exert tremendous pressure to forcefully bring the teeth together to grind and chew, otherwise called “mastication.”

It is this action that might be causing your headaches. It also is a reason to seek the advice from your dentist about a device to protect your teeth at night, and also to check with your doctor about sleep apnea, which is also associated with bruxism and headaches.

If you’d like more education about a dental device for bruxism, call Dr. Kent Nuttall and our helpful team at Nuttall Smiles. Phone: 253-939-0700, or come by our office in Auburn, Washington.