Bruxism: What is it?
Have you noticed your teeth wearing down? Do you suffer from headaches, earaches and inflamed gums? You might be suffering from Bruxism.
What does bruxism look like?
Commonly known as grinding your teeth, bruxism is fairly common. It can have a huge impact on the look and health of your teeth. Around 10% of adults and 15% of children suffer from bruxism.
It is true that 80% of bruxism cases are sleep related. The actual teeth grinding takes place subconsciously during the hours that we sleep. A massive 70% of cases are stress or anxiety related. It isn’t always clear what exactly is causing the grinding. As well as psychological factors, it is believed that lifestyle factors and sleep disorders are common causes.
Causes of bruxism
Lifestyle and demographic factors such as young age, higher educational status. Do you smoke, have a high caffeine intake or heavy alcohol consumption? You are more likely to suffer bruxism. Tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, or medications for sleep, depression, and anxiety can cause an increased rate arousal during the hours we are meant to sleep. This can cause issues with staying asleep and actually getting to sleep. Bruxism is higher in those who have a more common rate of sleep arousal. Suffers of existing sleep disorders (like snoring, sleep apnoea, sleep paralysis etc) also are at a higher risk of bruxism.
Coping with stress and illness affects your bruxism
If you are suffering from an illness or stress at work you are more likely to grind your teeth. Even though you may be suffering from stress or illness, you may not know you are grinding your teeth. Bruxism manifests itself in other ways in the body. Symptoms that tell you it’s happening include:
• Abnormal tooth wear
• Fracture of teeth
• Inflammation and recession of gums
• Excess tooth mobility and premature loss of teeth
• Obstructive nasal and breathing symptoms (mainly children)
• Facial myalgia
• Ear ache
• Limitation of mouth opening
• Sleep disruption
• Joint disorder (TMJ)
• Muscle aches
Can you treat bruxism?
There have been many treatments over the years. The only proven treatments for bruxism are mandibular advancement devices, hypnosis and occlusal splints. Occlusal splints (also known as night guards) are small plastic mouth guards. They protect the teeth from premature wear, reduce jaw muscle activity and the noise of teeth grinding. This prevents premature wear of your teeth and the need for advanced medical treatment. Though they are the treatment of choice, it should be known that they are a control and not a cure.
If you think you have bruxism, consult your dentist. It is a manageable condition with some professional insight.
Find a dentist near you who can help treat your bruxism
Click the link below and type in your location. Choose the advanced search and click ’Teeth Grinding’. This will give you a list of dentists near you who can help. You can also read their patient reviews!