Bruxism is the medical term for nocturnal teeth grinding. It is a medical condition in which a person clenches their jaw and grinds their teeth while they sleep. The American Sleep Association (ASA) states that 10 percent of adults and 15 percent of children grind their teeth while they sleep. However, it is common for many adults who gnash their teeth while they sleep to be unaware of it until physical symptoms and/or other sleep disturbances emerge.
Here is a list of 5 ways bruxism affects your sleep quality and health:
- Grinding your teeth while you sleep can damage teeth and lead to jaw issues. Your dental health can be negatively impacted if you grind your teeth at night. Bruxism can quickly wear down your teeth, lead to breakage and chips, and cause you to lose enamel. And repeatedly clenching your jaw will not only cause pain but can contribute to jaw malalignments over time.
- You can experience frequent earaches and/or headaches. If you find that you wake with pain in your jaw or experience headaches and earaches frequently with no other medical cause, then you may be grinding your teeth at night.
- Bruxism could indicate stress. High levels of anxiety, stress, and rage are the most common reason for teeth grinding, according to the National Sleep Foundation. However, it has also been linked to triggers such as fatigue, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
- Teeth grinding disrupts sleep. Most people only notice the symptoms of bruxism while they are awake, but that does not mean that their sleep isn’t being disrupted. Bruxism occurs in the early stages of the sleep cycle, usually, right before REM (rapid eye movement) sleep begins. It can, however, occur through several cycles. It can disrupt your sleep by delaying the REM stage or causing you to wake up before you enter the deep-sleep cycle.
- Bruxism may be a sign of an underlying sleep disorder. Bruxism is a condition which rarely exists on its own. Meaning, that if you do grind your teeth at night there is likely an underlying cause such as snoring or sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be dangerous to your health. It is a sleep disorder in which you stop breathing for several seconds at a time while you sleep, causing you to gasp for air. It is not a condition to take lightly as it is linked to many other health issues.
Treatment for Bruxism
If your bruxism is stress-related, it will likely pass once you get through whatever it is that is laying heavy on your mind. Stress reduction therapies, breathing exercises, massage, yoga, and other stress-reducing activities may be all you need. However, if you are grinding your teeth frequently and it is causing you discomfort or making it hard to get quality sleep, you may require medical treatment of some sort.
Practicing self-care may also help to reduce symptoms. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and television within a couple of hours of bedtime and keep a regular, relaxing bedtime routine to help relieve stress and prepare your body for sleep.
Family Sleep Diagnostics- We’re here for you. If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night, then you should contact us right away. We can perform a sleep study, if needed, to help determine what is causing your bruxism and get your sleep health back on track. You can reach us at Family Sleep Diagnostics or call us at (972) 714-0011.