Bruxism, Snoring, and Sleep Apnoea
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a condition in which a patient unconsciously grinds or clenches their teeth.
People who grind their teeth are also likely to have other sleep disorders like snoring or sleep apnoea.
Snoring result from an obstruction of the airways while sleeping at night.
In some cases, people snore softly, but typically people snore loudly. Snoring may be an early sign of obstructive sleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea is associated with pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing patterns while sleeping. Each pause lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes.
They occur at night during sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnoea can lead to more serious conditions like heart attack and strokes.
Signs and symptoms of bruxism are the following:
- Teeth grinding, gnashing, or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake someone sleeping near you
- Teeth that crack, flatten, fracture, chip, or loosen
- Worn out tooth surface, revealing inner layers
- Painful or sensitive tooth
- Tight jaw muscles or a locked jaw
- Pain on the jaw, neck, or face
- Pain in the ear, though you don’t have any problem with your ears
- Dull headache near the temples
- Cuts from chewing on the inside of your cheek
- Sleep disturbance
Causes and Triggering Factors
Anxiety or stress can trigger teeth grinding, so can anger and frustration.
Bruxism is most common in young children, but it usually goes away by adulthood.
Being aggressive, competitive, or hyperactive can increase your risk of bruxism.
Medications and Other Substances
Bruxism may be an side effect of some psychiatric medications, such as certain antidepressants. Smoking tobacco, drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol, or using recreational drugs may increase the risk of bruxism.
Family Members with Bruxism
Sleep bruxism tends to occur in families. If you have bruxism, other members of your family also may have bruxism or a history of it.
Bruxism can be associated with some mental health and medical disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), epilepsy, night terrors, and sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnoea, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Severe cases of bruxism can lead to:
- Damage to your teeth
- Headaches caused by severe grinding
- Severe pain in the face or jaw
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
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