Bruxism (teeth grinding) – Symptoms and causes
More people who clench or grind their teeth when they sleep are more likely to snore and experience breathing pauses (sleep apnea).Bruxism that is mild may not need therapy. Nevertheless, bruxism can be regular and severe enough in some people to cause jaw difficulties, migraines, cracked or chipped teeth, and other issues.
Bruxism is a medical condition that involves the involuntary and excessive grinding or clenching of teeth, typically during sleep. It affects people of all ages, and it can cause significant damage to the teeth, gums, and jaw if left untreated. Here, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of bruxism.
Whether you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep or while you are awake, this condition is known as bruxism (sleep bruxism).
More people who clench or grind their teeth when they sleep are more likely to snore and experience breathing pauses (sleep apnea).
Bruxism that is mild may not need therapy. Nevertheless, bruxism can be regular and severe enough in some people to cause jaw difficulties, migraines, cracked or chipped teeth, and other issues.
Knowing the symptoms of bruxism and getting regular dental treatment are crucial since it’s possible to have sleep bruxism without realizing it until difficulties arise.
Causes of Bruxism:
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of bruxism. These include:
Stress: Stress and anxiety are known to be major causes of bruxism. People who are under high levels of stress or anxiety are more likely to grind their teeth during sleep.
Medications: Certain medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antihistamines can cause bruxism as a side effect.
Sleep disorders: People with sleep apnea, snoring, or other sleep disorders are at a higher risk of developing bruxism.
Dental problems: People with misaligned teeth or other dental problems are more likely to develop bruxism.
Lifestyle factors: Factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and caffeine intake can also contribute to the development of bruxism.
Symptoms of Bruxism:
The most common symptoms of bruxism include:
Grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep.
Jaw pain or stiffness.
Broken, chipped or cracked teeth.
Sore or bleeding gums.
A clicking or popping sound in the jaw.
Diagnosis of Bruxism:
Diagnosing bruxism can be challenging because it usually occurs during sleep, and many people are not aware that they are grinding their teeth. A dentist or doctor may suspect bruxism based on symptoms such as worn down teeth, sore jaw muscles, or clicking sounds in the jaw. To confirm the diagnosis, the dentist may suggest wearing a special mouth guard at night to protect the teeth and monitor any changes.
Treatment of Bruxism:
The treatment of bruxism depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying causes. The following treatments may be recommended:
Mouth guards: Mouth guards are the most common treatment for bruxism. They are custom-made to fit the individual’s teeth and are worn at night to protect the teeth from grinding.
Stress management: Since stress is a major cause of bruxism, stress management techniques such as relaxation exercises, yoga, or meditation may be recommended.
Dental correction: If misaligned teeth or other dental problems are causing bruxism, dental correction may be recommended.
Medications: In some cases, medications such as muscle relaxants or antidepressants may be prescribed to relieve the symptoms of bruxism.
Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, quitting smoking, and getting enough sleep can also help reduce bruxism.
Prevention of Bruxism:
There are several steps that people can take to prevent bruxism from occurring. These include:
Managing stress levels: Since stress is a major cause of bruxism, stress management techniques such as relaxation exercises, yoga, or meditation may help prevent bruxism.
Reducing caffeine intake: Caffeine is known to increase anxiety levels, which can lead to bruxism. Reducing caffeine intake can help prevent bruxism.
Avoiding alcohol and smoking: Both alcohol and smoking can contribute to bruxism. Avoiding these substances can help prevent bruxism.
Maintaining good oral hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene can help prevent bruxism by reducing the risk of dental problems.
If you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms or have other worries about your teeth or jaw, consult your dentist or physician.