As is often the case with teeth grinding, you probably don’t even know you’re doing it. That makes it harder to identify whether you have this condition or not. However, we here at Beautisdom have come up with this useful guide to help you find out about everything you need to know on how to stop teeth grinding.
First and foremost, the reason that you don’t know whether you’re doing it or not is because that most cases of teeth grinding – although there are very few exceptions to this – happen in the middle of sleep.
To make matters even more complicated, not a lot of research has been done regarding this phenomenon, which makes it even more difficult to identify and ultimately stop. Not to worry, though: we can work with what we’ve got!
What We Know So Far
Despite lacking some research in this particular topic, experts do have a proper term for this rather unsettling phenomenon: Bruxism. This condition is described as the act of either clenching or grinding your teeth, or both while sleeping.
Now, having occasional bruxism is not considered a serious matter. However, the more often it occurs in a person, the more risks he or she is in of suffering from other complications that stem from this.
It’s actually pretty surprising to find out that there are millions upon millions of people who have a case of bruxism around the world and aren’t even aware.
And that’s what makes bruxism so hard to diagnose and treat: you won’t know whether you have it or not, considering that you’re asleep when it occurs. And, like we said earlier, not a lot of research has been done on the matter; we’re only currently finding new info about it.
For one, researchers have initially thought that the main cause of teeth grinding among people is stress. However, newer information has come to light and we can now discover that stress is simply but one of the many possible causes of bruxism.
Oh, and if you think that this only happens during sleep, then prepare to find out about what we’re going to tell you next.
The Unusual Cases of Daytime Bruxism
While not exactly identical to regular bruxism, daytime bruxism bears a number of similarities with its nighttime counterpart. However, let’s start with their differences in order to properly distinguish between the two.
First, you should know that cases of nighttime bruxism more often than not involve the act of grinding your teeth against each other. On the other hand, people who suffer from daytime bruxism are more prone to clenching their jaws and putting a lot of pressure on their teeth.
Despite daytime bruxism being more unusual, you won’t be surprised to find out that it is indeed more reported by people who suffer from it. After all, it happens during times when they are awake, which means they’re fully aware of what’s happening.
So, what does this say about nighttime bruxism? Well, it means that apart from having a higher chance of having the condition, it’s a lot harder to identify!
To be clear, though, one condition is not inclusive of the other. This means that you could suffer one or the other, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have both.
On the other hand, they are not mutually exclusive, so it is completely possible to have both. In such a case, that’s something that really needs immediate care and attention.
So, How Do We Know If We Grind Our Teeth At Night?
We’re going right off the bat and say it: this is a very tricky thing to do. In fact, it is more than likely that you’ll find out about the results that come from teeth grinding rather than the symptoms of the condition itself.
So, why is this? As we mentioned, you’re asleep when you do it, so that’s one thing that makes matters really hard. But, to be more specific, it’s because our brains are wired to stray away from anything that gives us discomfort, so what happens is we end up getting used to and adapting to the condition. As such, it makes bruxism all the more difficult to pinpoint.
On the other hand, here are the things that could happen if you do in fact have a regular case of bruxism.
- You tend to have a dry mouth more often
- In some severe cases, the clenching or grinding becomes so loud that it can wake you up
- Your teeth can get loose
- Your teeth gets damaged
- You can even lose some of your teeth
- Your teeth and gums become more sensitive, which is painful
- Gums get swollen, inflamed or could even recede
- You’ll notice that there’s tightness to your jaw, which can cause pain in your whole face. Worse, this can even lead to a case of lockjaw.
- Your salivary glands can get blocked
- You’ll have neck and shoulder pains
- Your ears may ache or ring, which can lead to loss of hearing.
If you’ll notice, a lot of the effects of teeth clenching and grinding affect numerous parts of your body, especially the ones close to your face. This is one of the reasons that diagnosing bruxism is difficult even for the most experienced of medical professionals.
The Cause of Teeth Grinding
It’s been generally accepted that bruxism comes from high anxiety and stress levels, but this is by far not conclusive at all. A lot of reasons have been surmised by experts around the world, including genetics and a host of infectious diseases. But, again, none of these are a definite answer.
What current information can tell us, on the other hand, is that teeth grinding and clenching is triggered by our nervous system. More often than not, it’s been linked to psychological issues, such as stress sensitivity, depression, and hostility.
However, we can’t simply dismiss bruxism as a simple disorder; researchers hypothesize that it is possible that this is some form of evolutionary trait we humans have developed in order to keep ourselves from suffocating while we sleep.
In such a case, this means that we grind our teeth to keep our airways open, implying that they’re being blocked in the first place. If our airways are indeed blocked, then that means we could be suffering from sleep apnea.
The Problem with Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is another disorder that is just as difficult to identify and diagnose as teeth grinding. Here are some of the effects of this pesky sleep condition:
- You have mental fatigue during waking hours
- You get migraines and headaches
- It could lead to mental issues
- You’ll notice that you’re more out of breath during waking hours
- It can cause metabolic syndrome, which can fluctuate your weight dramatically
- It can lead to type II diabetes
- You can get a whole host of problems, such as acid reflux, high blood pressure, heart disease, and liverproblems because of sleep apnea.
As we said a while ago, occasional bruxism is something that is bearable and may therefore not need any treatment. However, in cases where you are able to notice that it happens frequently, there are ways to impede it.
- Avoid consuming heavy doses of nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol
- Use a mouthguard prescribed by a doctor, as these things can protect your teeth and gums from the pressure that comes from bruxism.
- In some cases, your doctor may prescribe that you use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) to regulate your breathing during sleep.
Of course, it is best to have yourself checked by a medical professional to find out exactly if you do have a case of bruxism or sleep apnea. In any case, always keep safe!