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Sleep Bruxism (Teeth Grinding): Symptoms, Causes, and Cure

Have you ever woken up at night because of a grinding sound coming from the person beside you? Or did you ever wake because of the grinding sound just to realize it was coming from you? This weird sound is nothing but the result of grinding teeth in sleep.

Sleep Bruxism

Teeth grinding or sleep bruxism is an unconscious act of grinding or clenching your teeth tightly while you are asleep. It falls under the sleep-related movements disorder and is usually uncontrollable or involuntary. It is a fairly common disorder that a lot of people can suffer from – be it a child or an adult. Before we get into the causes of sleep bruxism, let us first get to know the symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Sleep Bruxism?

Listed below are the symptoms of sleep bruxism – some of which you might have noticed and some you might discover today:

  • Teeth clenching or teeth grinding
  • Flattened, loose, fractured, or chipped teeth
  • Toothache and sensitivity
  • Tooth enamel gets worn
  • Tight, locked, or tired jaws
  • Soreness or pain in the jaws, face, or the neck
  • Earache-like pain
  • Dull headache at your temples
  • Sleep disruption or disturbed sleep
  • Damage on the inside of the cheek due to chewing

Now that we are aware of the symptoms, let us now get into the causes of sleep bruxism.

What causes sleep bruxism?

Although doctors haven’t quite figured out the causes of sleep bruxism completely, there are a few reasons that might be the cause of this.

  1. Sleep arousal: Some doctors believe that sleep bruxism is related to sleep arousals where the respiratory systems and the cardiac system show a rise of activity. These arousals can happen almost 15 times in an hour while you are sleeping. These arousals are often accompanied by an increase in muscle activities which can be a reason behind teeth grinding.

It has been noticed that people suffering from sleep apnea also suffer from bruxism as it might be an unconscious response to the collapsed airways. Basically, the jaw muscles might tighten in order to prevent any kind of restriction of the airflow. Other sleep orders that are usually associated with teeth grinding are parasomnias like sleep paralysis, REM sleep behaviour disorder, or somniloquy also known as sleep talking.

  1. Psychological causes: Various psychological causes have also been associated with bruxism. It is often said that bruxism is a side effect of stress, anxiety, or other intense emotions. People who are competitive, aggressive, or hyperactive are found to be suffering from bruxism. It might be a coping mechanism to deal with stress and anxiety and can be compared to tooth tapping, cheek biting, lip biting, orbiting or chewing an object. Children often grind their teeth in response to an earache or toothache that they might be suffering from.
  2. Certain physical causes: Certain conditions like stomach acid reflux in the oesophagus, and malocclusion can lead to sleep bruxism. The use of psychoactive substances like tobacco, caffeine, or alcohol, or even certain medications for anxiety and stress can give rise to sleep bruxism.

Does bruxism affect sleep quality?

Bruxism can disrupt your sleep! It can easily result in disrupted sleep as it disturbs your sleep patterns. It can delay your REM sleep. It can wake you up before you enter the phase of deep sleep. Bruxism usually occurs in the early stages of sleep which means that there is a very high chance of you not being able to sleep peacefully at night. If the person sleeping beside you grinds his or her teeth, the noise might wake you up or make it hard for you to sleep. All these reasons can cause your sleep quality to degrade.

Can bruxism be cured?

Although no sure shot cure for sleep bruxism has been found, it can be reduced and controlled through various treatments. These treatments can decrease the damage caused by the grinding of teeth. Going to the dentist is definitely a must if the grinding is very severe and causes you any kind of ache or sensitivity. As the pain can get irritable and hard to handle, managing it is the first thing. Avoiding hard foods like hard candies, nuts or popcorn can really help you. Even staying away from sticky food like peanut butter can help you deal with the pain. You can also try to adjust your sleeping position for additional support for your neck and head.

How do I stop bruxism at night?

The first step to stop or rather reduce bruxism or teeth grinding at night is by scheduling regular dental appointments. Your dentist will help you control bruxism. Another way is by reducing the amount of stress. Listening to music or taking a warm bath will aid you in reducing stress. Good sleeping habits and a comfortable bed is also a key point that helps you to have an undisturbed sleep at night so that you can be stress free, which might reduce bruxism.

A comfortable bed is only possible if you have a comfortable mattress. The perfect mattress will you ensure that you are able to have an undisturbed sleep and are rested well. Springwel houses mattresses that guarantee comfort and optimum support to your body. You can also get your mattresses customized for a small fee. Visit your nearest Springwel store or check out the website for the perfect mattress that checks all your needs.

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