If you wake up and your jaw feels tense or even sore, then you might be suffering from teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. Bruxism often happens when you are sleeping, which means people can go on for years not knowing they have this issue unless their sleep partner tells them about it. But what exactly is bruxism and what other issues might it hide?
What is teeth grinding?
Bruxism or teeth grinding is a medical condition which involves clenching or grinding your teeth, usually during sleep, but it can happen when you are awake as well. While most people do clench their teeth from time to time, especially in stressful situations, it can become a real problem if it turns habitual.
People suffering from sleep bruxism may often be unaware of their condition, until someone else tells them about it or until complications, such as damaged teeth or jaw disorders, start to appear. While mild bruxism does not require any form of treatment, severe teeth grinding does imply you need to see a doctor.
Can it hide other issues?
Up until this day, the cause of bruxism is not completely understood by specialists. It can be caused by a number of issues that need to be treated in order to completely get rid of teeth clenching. Amongst the most common issues for bruxism are stress and anxiety, which manifest during your sleep.
Hyperactive individuals can also suffer from bruxism, as well as those who consume large amounts of caffeinated beverages. Bruxism is heavily related to sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and night terrors.
Bruxism can also be a side effect of particular antidepressants, such as paroxetine or sertraline. Sometimes, dental issues, such as missing or crooked teeth can also cause bruxism.
Teeth grinding treatment
To get rid of teeth grinding, sometimes you need to treat other issues, such as anxiety or sleep troubles. Some cases may require dental interventions, to correct poor biting or chewing that could lead to bruxism.
Other forms of treatment include mouth guards, which can be used during the night to protect your teeth from getting worn out. Mount guards, such as Brux Night Guard, are custom-fitted so that you will be comfortable using it during the night.
When choosing a mouth guard, make sure the material is not too hard, as to not damage your teeth, but is supportive enough to protect them. They also come in various sizes, so for those who can not get used to full-size guards, a smaller one may be a better option.
In some cases, when the cause of bruxism is unknown and no treatment can be applied, some changes in your lifestyle can be of great help. Reducing the number of caffeinated beverages of food, such as coffee or chocolate can help, as well as reducing alcohol consumption.
Avoid bad habits, such as chewing gums or biting on pencils all day, as it actually accentuates your jaw muscles’ habit of clenching. Relaxing your jaw muscles with some light exercises before going to sleep can also help.