By painful trial-and-error I've discovered that my system cannot
tolerate certain foods, nighttime jaw-clenching being one of the
symptoms. Others, that I've found it maybe too easy to ignore, are
sensations of bloating, and diffuse or general abdominal irritation.
The prime suspect is "gluten sensitivity" -- see WSJ.com/Wellness for
a recent article by Melinda Beck. Furthermore, all molecules related
to gluten are suspect: gliadin, glutenin, and so on. So, I've dropped
oats from my diet in addition to wheat and barley.
Also suspect are other hard-to-digest molecules:
* lactose (though low-lactose or goat's milk yogurt/kefir may
actually be beneficial)
* overheated meat or cooking oil
* saturated fats -- those that are solid at room temperature
* all other true, monocot cereals, including corn and rice, although
I've not yet eliminated these.
There are a couple of aggravating factors, apart from choice of foodstuff:
* Alcohol puts gluten into solution and makes it more effective at
invading gut tissue, as noted in some of the research. I can
confirm this from firsthand anecdote -- beer and pizza are a deadly
* Overeating -- triggers my own bruxism even in the absence of gluten.
So, it seems there's some sort of feedback from distress in the gut, via the
enteric nervous system, to the jaw's motor function. Would be grateful
for any leads to medical research in this area.
Following the above guidelines, I've been tooth-pain free for a week
now, and it's a better world to live in.
I've never had the classic symptoms of celiac, and both the blood test and a recent endoscopy came back negative. I do however have classic symptoms of spondyloarthritis, which like gluten sensitivity involves the immune system. Check out the WSJ article for an overview of gluten-related disorders.