8 Facts You Need to Know About Bruxism
Is your partner complaining about the cracking noises you make while you are sleeping? Do you know that you are grinding your teeth at night? Or have you ever woken up with a painful jaw or a headache?
Most probably, you have bruxism. It is an excessive grinding or clenching of the teeth that occurs mostly when you are asleep. There are also individuals who experience unconscious bruxism during the day. According to studies, about 8% to 31% of people across the globe have it in mild to severe cases.
The good news is, bruxism does not cause serious complications to your health. However, it is a major reason for teeth issues, sleep troubles, wide jaw condition, and facial pain.
Here are 8 facts that you need to check out:
Fact #1 – You have bruxism and do not know it.
Teeth grinding mostly happens at night. If you wake up with a splitting headache or sore jaw muscles, it is because you grind your teeth while sleeping. If you have a partner, the noise that is comparable to a fingernail screeching down a surface or a pneumatic drill can disturb his or her sleep.
Fact #2 – Bruxism is a phase during childhood.
A lot of small children experience teeth grinding while their milk teeth are developing. It goes away for a while and sometimes occurs again during adult teeth formation. According to Britain’s NHS, one out of five children below 11 years old grind their teeth. The reasons are believed to be the increasing number of teeth and their alignment.
Fact #3 – It is common among 25 to 44-year olds.
Most people go through jaw-clenching and teeth grinding at some point in their lives. It is usually associated with stress and other emotional issues that you are trying to manage. Once the stressors go away, teeth clenching episodes stop. Unfortunately, a sizable proportion of the adult population does it regularly. Lifestyle choices are also contributory factors to bruxism. It can be triggered by heavy smoking, habitual use of recreational drugs, or alcohol and high caffeine intake.
Fact #4 – Bruxism can cause a wide jaw.
Excessive teeth grinding puts a strain on the ligaments and muscles of your jaw. It causes the jaw to have an abnormal widening. You may experience jaw clicking or popping when you close or open it, especially after waking up. This happens due to the stress of the surrounding masseter muscles. You can have a Botox injection for this kind of condition. It is a wide jaw treatment that relieves the stress on the hyperactive muscles and alleviates the impact of bruxism.
Fact #5 – Sleep disorders can cause bruxism.
Sleep apnea, snoring, or talking in your sleep can contribute to teeth clenching episodes. These sleep disorders disturb the deep sleeping period. Intermittent wakefulness at night also breaks the sleep cycle. It is during the light sleep layer that bruxism starts to manifest.
Fact #6 – Stress and anxiety are linked to teeth grinding.
Bruxism is a manifestation that your body is reacting to stressors. You are unconsciously trying to relieve chronic stress in a passive way. Some people try to displace the stress through shouting, hitting physical objects, or displaying aggressive behaviour. Sometimes, anxiety-induced teeth grinding disappears when the stimulus goes away. However, if it becomes habituated, bruxism may continue. Prescriptive medications for mental health like depression can also prompt teeth grinding.
Fact #7 – Teeth grinding causes teeth deterioration and sensitivity.
Regular teeth grinding wears down the surface of your teeth. The grinding movement wears away the protective enamel layer, exposing the soft inner part. It leads to shorter teeth, chips, and cracks, dislodged fillings, or broken crowns. The wearing down of the enamel also leads to making your teeth sensitive to cold, hot, or sweet foods.
Fact #8 – Bruxism can be treated.
Bruxism treatment is the only way to manage this condition. The most recommended procedure is Botox injection as it relaxes the jaw muscles that cause the grinding. It is ideal for people with severe bruxism. It may not be a permanent solution to teeth grinding, but this bruxism treatment can temporarily ease the symptoms. By stopping the grinding, you are preventing damage to your jaw, teeth, and facial muscles.
Other treatments include:
- Use of customised mouth guards or shields that are made from soft rubber, acrylic, or laminate material. The mouth guard provides a buffer between the two sets of your teeth. This significantly lessens the grinding noise.
- Drug therapies are also good options. However, not all people like taking a muscle relaxant because of the unpleasant side effects that may disrupt their daily routine.
- Physical relaxation techniques are used to help people with bruxism ‘unlearn’ the grinding habit or train the muscles of the jaw to stop clenching. Another good option is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Bruxism should not keep you from living your life to the fullest. Finding the best treatment to reduce teeth clenching requires immediate action. Check out the list of trusted specialists in your locality if you are into Botox treatment or consult your dentist to fix teeth issues.