While it is easy to recognize the bad habits you perform during the day, it can be quite challenging to identify the habits that happen at night while you sleep. Not all sleep habits are harmful to your body, but bruxism is a common nighttime habit that can wreak havoc on your smile.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism, more commonly referred to as teeth grinding, is the act of grinding or clenching your teeth. It is often a subconscious habit that happens during nighttime sleep. Unfortunately, nighttime teeth grinding can be detrimental to your dental health, as it can cause problems within your teeth as well as your jaw joint (TMJ).
If you don’t have a roommate or bed partner to expose your teeth grinding habit, you can look for the following telltale signs that you need to see a bruxism dentist:
- Teeth that appear flat or dull
- Teeth that look prematurely worn down
- Signs of chewing on the inner cheek or indentations on the tongue,
- Unexplainable chips and cracks in teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Jaw pain or soreness upon waking
- Tension headaches (related to TMJ dysfunction)
Quick Facts and Stats on Nighttime Teeth Grinding
Learning about sleep bruxism can be surprising. At Alora Dentistry, we encourage patients to seek treatment for teeth grinding if they suspect it is taking place in their own mouth. Here are some important (and surprising) facts about sleep bruxism:
- Bruxism puts incredible force on your teeth and jaw joint. Studies have estimated that during bruxism episodes, the force exerted on the teeth can range from 100 to 600 pounds per square inch (psi). This is significantly higher than the normal chewing force of 20-40 psi.
- Sleep bruxism is common, with an estimated prevalence of 8-31% in adults and 14-20% in children.
- Sleep bruxism affects both men and women, with a slightly higher prevalence in women.
- Sleep bruxism can occur at any age, but it is most common in children and tends to decrease with age.
- Risk factors for sleep bruxism include stress, anxiety, sleep apnea, alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption, smoking, and certain medications.
- Those who clench or grind their teeth during sleep are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring and pauses in breathing (sleep apnea), according to Mayo Clinic.
Alora Dentistry is proud to treat sleep bruxism. We offer FDA-approved mouthguards to protect your smile from this common, yet harmful oral habit. Call our Napa dental clinic today to learn more.