What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, clench, or gnash your teeth without thinking about it or realizing that you’re doing it. Sleep bruxism, therefore, is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. People with bruxism are also much more likely to have other types of sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea and snoring – so it’s certainly a big deal when it comes to your quality of sleep.
The condition tends to range from mild to severe, and generally falls somewhere in-between. A mild form of the condition may not require treatment at all – while more severe versions of the problem can lead to more serious long-term complications, including headaches, damaged teeth, and jaw disorders.
What causes Bruxism?
There could be a number of reasons for why someone is suffering from this condition. Stress and anxiety can certainly cause teeth-grinding, though an abnormal bite or crooked teeth can also play a role. Sleep apnea, believe it or not, can also make you more likely to grind your teeth while sleeping.
How serious is it?
Some cases of Bruxism are very serious, and require definite attention. Chronic teeth grinding can be very destructive to the mouth. It can wear down, fracture, and/or loosen teeth, and can even disfigure the jaw and change the way you look from the outside.
If your teeth-grinding habit is pretty noticeable and you feel that it might cause you problems down the road, then it’s very important to try to keep it from getting any worse. Sometimes, identifying the problem isn’t too difficult – and finding the problem is the first step toward finding a solution.
If the source of your teeth-grinding is stress, then it might do you a lot of good to talk to a doctor or someone else about how to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Some other tips that may help you to overcome this problem include eliminating caffeine and alcohol from your diet, abstaining from putting other objects (like pencils or playing cards) into your mouth and chewing on them, and training your mouth not to clench up.
Try to relax your jaw muscles and keep them relaxed. If you notice periodically throughout the day that your jaw muscles are tensed up, then try to make an effort to ease the tension. These tips might not seem like much – but sometimes, solving this problem is simpler than you might expect.
Bruxism might not be quite as serious as some other sleeping disorders, but it can be quite a pain. It can be treated, and some doctors might even prescribe a custom-fitted mouthpiece to help keep people from grinding their teeth during sleep – but in the end, you’re going to find that solving your Bruxism problem is going to be easier if you try to stay in-tune with your body and how you’re feeling.
Try to pay attention to how your mouth feels when you wake up every morning. Do your teeth hurt? Does your jaw feel stiff and sore? Does your sleeping partner complain of loud noises that sound like teeth grinding when you sleep?
If any of the above are a yes, then odds are good that you’re dealing with at least a mild form of Bruxism.
Talking to your doctor is an excellent first step, as they can do a lot to help you overcome the problem. But nothing is going to change unless you determine within yourself to make it happen.
The truth is that teeth grinding can be a very destructive habit – but it certainly doesn’t have to be out of your control. Just focus on getting it taken care of, and don’t be afraid to explore possibilities for treatment. Some of them might seem unconventional – but in the end, you’re going to be much better off if you do your best to try to overcome the problem.