10.14.2011

Life's a Grind


I got some somewhat troubling news at my last dental appointment. After a cursory check of my X-rays, the hygenist, who I am used to discussing such matters as "how often do you floss" and "we have a little plaque on the bottom right that you should take better care of," said, "You have some bone loss in your jaw." It turns out that where my teeth are rooted, there's less bone mass around it than before. In other words, if I don't take good care of my gums, and even if I do, my teeth could start falling out in a few decades if not sooner.

The hygenist suggested I get a mouth guard for nighttime, because she saw my teeth were worn down and suspected that I grind my teeth at night when I sleep. This is entirely possible.

Alternatively or in addition, it could be that I grind my teeth a lot when I'm wide awake. Since that dental visit, I have been catching myself in stressful situations exerting a lot of pressure on my teeth. I find that I am often tensed up, teeth clenched, and am now wondering how often I do this and whether this has anything to do with what the hygenist saw.

I realize life is a grind for me right now: lots of work responsibilities, two small children to parent, church roles to fulfill, house projects to stay on top of, relationships to manage, bills to pay, and the list goes on. I often sigh aloud to God that I am worn out, although quick to add that I am happy about all of what my life is full with.

But there is a sense that it is not good that life is such a grind that I am literally grinding down my teeth. So even as I am not keeping an eye out on my jaw and teeth, I should be doing the same with my soul.

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