Nocturnal Tooth Grinding Can Impact Your Quality Of Life

Do you grind your teeth at night or wake up with a headache or sore jaw. Are your teeth lose, broken, chipped or worn out?  If so, then you might have bruxism.

Millions of people grind their teeth during sleep. And around 5-10% of people have severe symptoms which can cause damage to the dental fillings, crowns or teeth.

Nocturnal Tooth GrindingGrinding, clenching or gnashing one’s teeth in an unconscious state is known as bruxism. There are two types of bruxism – sleep bruxism (occurring during sleep) and (occurring during wakefulness). Both these types of bruxism cause severe damage to the teeth. According to the research,  women are more prone to this problem as compared to males.

Sleep bruxism falls under the category of sleep-related movement disorders which is characterized by physical movement during sleep, which may be involuntary or uncontrollable. Also, other sleep disorder patients suffer from complications such as snoring and sleep apnea.

Causes of Sleep Arousal

Doctors are still unsure of the exact reasons for bruxism although there is evidence to suggest that it is linked to sleep-related arousals in which the respiratory systems and heart show a rise in activity. These arousals usually take place around 15 times during sleep and are often accompanied by an enhanced muscle activity such as in jaw, which could be the source of teeth grinding. Bruxism is often found in persons suffering from sleep apnea. Other sleep disorders associated with bruxism include sleep talking (somniloquy), sleep paralysis and REM sleep behaviour disorder.

Psychological causes of tooth grinding

According to a study, around 70% of bruxism cases are the result of anxiety, stress, mental disorder and intense emotions. In particular, aggressive, hyperactive and competitive individuals often struggle with such maladies. Bruxism is also used as a coping strategy in order to deal with stress and anxiety. People indulge in lip biting, tooth tapping, object biting/chewing and cheek biting when they nervous.

Other causes of Bruxism 

Physical conditions that lead to bruxism include abnormal alignment of the upper and lower teeth and a stomach acid reflux in the oesophagus. Use of psychoactive medicines for anxiety and depression as well as consumption of tobacco, alcohol and caffeine may aggravate problems of sleep bruxism among individuals. After the use of these substances, a person experiences frequent sleep interruptions at night.

Treatment for Tooth Grinding

Moderate symptoms of bruxism may lead to problems such as a headache, teeth damage and jaw pain. You should visit a sleep specialist if you experience disturbed sleep, pain, discomfort or damage to your teeth.

Different treatment methods for sleep bruxism

 Sleep Study

Your sleep specialist may help you to find out the real reason for bruxism. You can reduce the symptoms of bruxism with obstructive sleep apnea.

Therapies and Medications of Tooth Grinding

Treatment of Teeth grinding due to stress, mood disorders or anxiety can relieve symptoms of bruxism.

  • Relaxation techniques and stress management can help relieve in teeth grinding
  • Behaviour therapy, for example, practising jaw and mouth positions can help you to stop grinding your teeth.
  • Use of muscle relaxants before retiring to bed can reduce the likelihood of jaw muscle tension.
Get in touch with a dentist for dental appliances

Just connect with a dentist if you grind teeth at night. He may ask you about health, habits and other factors which may reveal the source of your bruxism. Use of a dental appliance can also prevent damage to your teeth.

Medical practitioners often recommend mouth guards and splints for controlling bruxism. Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) is also effective in the treatment of bruxism.

If bruxism (or any related sleep disorder), you can take the help of a sleep specialist for the treatment of your problem. He may prescribe some prescription sleeping pills for the treatment of this disorder.