Clenching, gnashing, and grinding your teeth is not a normal thing to do and in fact, is a health problem called Bruxism. This condition may occur during the day or night, which can be referred to as sleep bruxism. The latter is a disorder that falls under sleep-related movement and people who have this kind of condition will most likely develop other sleep-related problems including sleep apnea and snoring. Bruxism don’t actually require treatment unless it becomes frequent and grow severe that you’re your teeth, jaw, and even head at risk. So when it tends to damage your teeth or cause disorder to the jaw or cause headaches, expert advice of your doctor becomes necessary. Regular dental checkups will also be helpful.
Bruxism is not fully understood, even by experts, but it is believed to be brought about by psychological or physical causes. Among these are anger, anxiety, frustration, stress, tension or any other form of emotion that people may carry in their sleep. Sleep problems like sleep apnea, focusing habit, pain response, GERD, and coping strategy are also common causes. People going through psychiatric medications or Huntington’s and Parkinson‘s diseases are also prone to Bruxism. People with aggressive, hyperactive and competitive personality type or those who have malocclusion or upper and lower teeth misalignment are also prone to the condition.
Complications of Bruxism
While bruxism is a common and often not a very serious condition, frequent and severe occurrence should be a cause to worry as it may actually lead to damage and pains.
- Teeth or jaw damage
- TMJs (temporomandibular joints) disorders
- Facial pain
- Tension-type headaches
Prevention of Bruxism
- Reduce stress. Stress can invoke emotions that people can take in their sleep. Anger, worry, and frustrations are things that can trigger sleep bruxism so it is best to stay away from stress. A good practice to fight stress is to open and listening to soft music at night or indulge in a warm, relaxing bath. If up for a little walk or jog, get a few minutes out to do some basic exercises.
- Steer clear from stimulating substances – especially at night. Caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea can actually trigger or even aggravate bruxism. The same is true with alcohol and tobacco. After dinner, it is better to get to the habit of reading or watching television or even listening to smooth music rather than any of these stimulating substances.
- Practice good night or sleep habits. Sleeping early, relaxed and calmed is the best way to prevent sleep bruxism. A good sleeping habit will require discipline though so it is best to be decisive about your routine.
- Regular dental visit. Bruxism can only be treated by elimination of possible causes so going to the dentist for a regular dental examination will surely help. It will also help identify if you have bruxism due to the possible signs on your teeth and jaw.
People who have sleeping partner can always ask his or her partner to look after signs or symptoms of bruxism while asleep. This will help identify the problem and get treatment.