Does your jaw ache in the morning? Has your significant other moved to another bed due to your constant teeth grinding all night? The medical term for this is bruxism otherwise known as teeth grinding. Sleep bruxism is grinding your teeth while you are sleeping or nocturnal teeth grinding. Almost 10% of adults suffer from this common dental condition. If you know you grind your teeth at night and you find yourself clenching your jaw often. It would be wise to see a dentist and find out what you can do.
This common problem can lead to serious health issues. You can suffer from chronic jaw pain, headaches, and earaches. You can grind your teeth so severely that you will have to undergo major dental procedures. It's nothing that can't be corrected with regular dental check-ups. It is always best to take care of your teeth.
What Causes People To Grind Their Teeth?
While there is no specific cause of bruxism, there are many factors that contribute to people grinding their teeth. People who suffer from particular medical conditions are more susceptible to bruxism than others.
- Alcohol consumption
- Sleeping disorders
- Smoking cigarettes
- Missing or crooked teeth
- Overbite or abnormal bite
- Extreme exhaustion
It has been found that if you suffer from a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnoea you are more likely to grind your teeth. Certain medications such as amphetamines also increase the chance of teeth grinding.
Symptoms of Teeth Grinding
Most people that grind their teeth have nocturnal bruxism meaning they grind their teeth at night while sleeping. Unless you live alone, your family will inform you of this problem because it's most likely disturbing their sleep.
If nobody tells you, there are signs of bruxism. The symptoms include headaches, earaches, and dull or severe jaw pain. If you suffer from a severe case of bruxism you will awake in the morning with a sore face, gums, jaw, and teeth.
Severe anxiety and high-stress levels increase your chances of grinding your teeth at night. If you experience any of the above symptoms and are under a lot of stress, most likely you are grinding your teeth.
Harm of Continuous Teeth Grinding
You can face consequences if you severely grind your teeth. Not only will you experience pain in your mouth, jaw, and face. You can end up needing serious dental work. People diagnosed with sleep bruxism can grind their teeth down to mere stumps. This can require crowns, root canals, dentures, and other dental work. You can grind down the enamel on your teeth, loosen your teeth from your gums, or even fracture or cause your teeth to fall out.
Sleep disorders are often associated with teeth grinding. A person can literally grind their teeth bad enough that begins to interrupt their own sleep and wake them up through the night.
Treatment for Bruxism
If you aware of your constant teeth grinding, your dentist can help. Your dentist can prescribe you to wear a soft plastic mouthguard to protect your teeth from being ground down any further. It may also be advised for you to perform jaw exercises to properly align your teeth and jaw, preventing this from continuously occurring.
Adults that suffer from bruxism due to high anxiety and stress are recommended to try various relaxation techniques. Especially before bedtime when bruxism seems to be at it's worst. To better cope with teeth grinding symptoms, make sure you are sleeping in a healthy environment as well as a comfortable sleeping position. People who sleep on their back are more apt to grind their teeth. Also, make sure you are sleeping in a dark, quiet room.
It can also help to avoid caffeine a few hours before you want to fall to sleep. Sleep bruxism is more common than any other time for teeth grinding. If you are having trouble sleeping as well, consider consulting a sleep therapist. They can teach you different relaxation techniques to ease you into falling asleep and staying asleep. This can lessen the person from grinding their teeth.
Different Age Groups Suffering From Bruxism
One thing to be aware of is family genetics. If someone in your family grinds their teeth, you have a 30% chance of that trait being passed along to you. Studies have shown that 1 in 3 people suffer from bruxism. By the time a person becomes elderly, less than 3% of elders are believed to have teeth grinding issues.
As an adult, the best thing to do is to schedule regular dental check-ups. If you know you grind your teeth, have this problem looked at by a dentist before it becomes severe. Out of those 1 in 3 people that grind their teeth, 10% grind their teeth down to nubs.
You have one set of teeth your whole life. As an adult, don't let grinding your teeth destroy them. The majority of adults that grind their teeth is due to stress that occurs from work, home, or other areas of their life. If you work on stress reduction techniques, your teeth grinding could decrease immensely.
It is not only adults that suffer from teeth grinding, children do as well. In fact, children are more likely to suffer from grinding their teeth than adults. Nearly 20% of children suffer from bruxism. It can begin as early as the child getting their top and bottom front teeth. The good thing is that children typically grow out of grinding their teeth.
When you hear your child grinding their teeth, do not be alarmed. While it can begin at a very young age, the most prominent age is preschool. The adjustment from being at home all day to being away from their family for hours seems to trigger bruxism in many kids. As mentioned, children usually outgrow this bad habit. Teeth grinding is actually considered a common trait in children under the age of 11.
Teeth grinding becomes a real and serious problem when it goes from occasional grinding to all nite, every night. If this happens to your child, consult a dentist or other medical professional before this trait extends into adulthood.