How can I stop clenching my teeth?

How can I stop clenching my teeth?

My teeth are aching right now. As I type this, I am consciously thinking about not clenching my teeth. As I've stated before, I suffer from a TMJ disorder. Clenching is the main trigger for my pain, but for some reason, I cannot break the habit. I've bought books and read articles (someone is making a killing off of TMJ problems) on how to quit doing this, but I just cannot stop.

Why, oh why, do I keep causing this pain?

Am I stressed?

Of course, I'm stressed - I am human, right? In this day and age, we live very stressful lives. Will I have enough money to pay all of my bills? Is there enough time in the day to finish all of my tasks?

How do I cope with this stress?


Just thinking about being a responsible adult makes me want to clench my teeth together more. Ow!

What about when I'm bored?

A logical person would assumed that I stop clenching my teeth during times of complete boredom, but for some reason the opposite is true. It's almost as if clenching gives me something to do. Not healthy, I know.

The only way I can combat bored clenching is by chewing gum. Now, anyone with a TMJ disorder knows this is not allowed, but I don't actually chomp on the gum. Instead, I hold it between my teeth, occasionally moving it around my mouth with my tongue. I've got to make sure that I don't irritate my jaw anymore.

Do you clench the most when you sleep?

Since I'm asleep, I really don't know. My jaw doesn't hurt in the morning, so I assume that I actually don't clench at night. Most people with TMJ, however, do clench at night. To avoid cracking a tooth, I try to wear a night guard most of the time. Disclaimer: By most of the time, I mean twice a week. I know, I know...

I guess I will keep trying to break this awful habit. I don't want to damage my teeth at all. If anyone has a suggestion, please share it with me!