Causes Of Bruxism
Although exact cause of bruxism is unknown, one research study links it with such factors as stress, sleep apnea, snoring, fatigue, alcohol consumption, anxiety, cigarette smoking, and caffeine. Sleep apnea may also be related to sleep bruxism, and evidence suggests that treating sleep apnea can help lessen sleep bruxism.
It is recognized that bruxism rarely happens alone. Scientists have consistently found that bruxism is found more often in those individuals who have an existing sleep disorder such as snoring, breathing pauses while sleeping and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Other sleep disorders such as sleep talking, sleep paralysis, violent movements, hallucinations are also more commonly reported by patients who grind their teeth individuals. It is important to note that OSA is the highest risk factor as it is associated with an arousal response. During a sleep apnea event there is an obstruction of the airway and oxygen levels drop. When oxygen levels get critically low the brain arouses the body from sleep. The brain send out signals to the body to awaken and clear the obstruction. The jaw moves and thrashes around trying to open the airway. The conclusion of the apnea event is often accompanied by a variety of mouth phenomena such as snoring, mumbling, gasps for air, and tooth grinding.
The New Red Flag for Sleep Apnea: Bruxism
Grinding is the new warning signal for obstructive sleep apnea. For patients that grind their teeth, it is important to have a sleep study to rule out obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. These pauses can occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound. Having episodes of interrupted breathing during the night and missing out on all the health benefits of deep stage sleep. Plus, during while your body tried to open the airway during an sleep arousal patients can grind and damage their teeth.
Even if you’re otherwise healthy, sleep apnea is known to significantly increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, depression, and obesity.
If you are grinding your teeth, you should be concerned about:
- Protecting your teeth from the massive forces of grinding. These destructive forces can cause teeth to break, wear down to nubs, crack, become sensitive, cause pain. Plus, grinding can cause gum recession.
- That you may have sleep apnea and should look into getting tested for this potentially life-threatening condition.
Other Bruxism Causes: Lifestyle Choices
Certain lifestyle choices can raise your chances of suffering from bruxism. These include:
- high intake of alcohol
- smoking large amounts of tobacco
- taking recreational drugs
What to Do If You Grind Your Teeth
Talk to our office. We can set up the home sleep study so we can confirm or deny the existence of obstructive sleep apnea.
- If you have sleep apena, we can make a mandibular advancement device to open the air way and help prevent sleep apena. Furthermore, this devise will protect your teeth from the catastrophic effects of grinding.
- If you don’t have sleep apnea we can make a simple night guard to protect your teeth.
If you have a night guard and have never been tested for sleep apnea, know that night guard could be making your sleep apnea worse.