Sleep Bruxism, Everything you need to know… – Zental
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Sleep Bruxism, Everything you need to know…

12 August 2021

If you find yourself grinding your teeth in your sleep then you could be suffering from sleep bruxism. This could be the result of feeling stressed or anxious, whether that’s due to something that happened to you during your day or thoughts that you have before you go to bed at night. You may not even know that you are suffering from sleep bruxism but, because of the pressure that is applied, it can have a very negative impact on your teeth and jaw.

The definition of sleep bruxism

Bruxism and sleep bruxism are considered two separate conditions even though they are both a form of teeth grinding. Grinding your teeth during the day (awake bruxism) can be the most common but sleep bruxism (when this is happening at night) may be the more damaging. That’s because, when you’re asleep, you may not realise the force you’re applying to your teeth, which can be as much as 250 pounds.

Who suffers with sleep bruxism?

It tends to be more common in children – up to 50% of children struggle with grinding their teeth at night and 15% of adolescents. However, anyone can grind their teeth at night so if you recognise any of the symptoms below then this could be something you need to deal with.

The causes of sleep bruxism

  • Stress is one of the most significant causes. Many of us clench our jaw when we are in a challenging situation and that can carry over into bruxism.
  • Some sleep bruxism is genetic – around half of people with the condition will have a family member who also has it.
  • There are proven links between conditions like obstructive sleep apnea and bruxism.
  • Other factors include consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, snoring or depression.

Symptoms of sleep bruxism

Jaw and neck pain are two of the most common symptoms of sleep bruxism – if you’re struggling with this, especially when you wake up in the morning, it could be because you’re grinding your teeth at night.

Sleep bruxism doesn’t happen continuously throughout the night but in episodes – usually during non-REM sleep – and some nights you may not get it at all. Other symptoms of sleep bruxism include waking up with headaches that feel like tension headaches, as well as pain and discomfort in your teeth that has no other explanation.

What happens if you don’t get help?

Not everyone who suffers from sleep bruxism will see physical consequences but for some people it can create a lot of issues, including:

  • Pain, erosion and movement in your teeth
  • Damage to filings, crowns and dental implants
  • Problems with the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull, including issues chewing, jaw pain or popping noises in the jaw
  • Disturbing anyone else that you share a bed with – sleep bruxism can be bothersome as the noise of clenching and grinding is often audible

If you think sleep bruxism might be a problem for you there are a number of ways to approach this, from medication to mouthpieces – see your ENT specialist to find out what help is available.

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