There are approximately 40 million Americans who live with bruxism today. Could you be one of them? Here are a few things you should know about this relatively common oral health issue.
1. Bruxism can often occur in your sleep.
Shockingly enough, you could be a teeth grinder and not even realize it! Most people who suffer from bruxism actually grind their teeth in their sleep. If this applies to you, you may notice that you wake up with headaches, a sore jaw, or even earaches. More often than not, however, patients are informed by their partners or family members of their nighttime bruxism—after all, grinding your teeth can make a pretty unpleasant sound. The best way to determine if you’re a bruxer, though, is to consult your dentist.
2. You may experience bruxism in times of stress.
Have you ever caught yourself clenching your jaw when you’re angry or tense? If so, then you can understand why 70% of bruxism cases are initially caused by stress. Teeth grinding or clenching is a natural physical response to the stress hormone called cortisol. Therefore, you may find that you suffer from bruxism when dealing with stressful situations at work or school, for example. That said, bruxism can occur for a number of reasons, including caffeine, smoking, or even misalignment of the jaw.
3. Bruxism can lead to an array of oral health issues.
Whether you grind your teeth as though you’re chewing imaginary food or clench your mouth in times of stress, bruxism doesn’t just damage your teeth—it can cause all sorts of issues! In addition to damaging your enamel, it can cause problems with your temporomandibular joints (or the joints that connect your jawbone to your skull). It can also lead to referred pain such as earaches and headaches.
4. If you’ve never been a teeth grinder before, you still can be one later in life.
Unfortunately, avoiding bruxism as a child does not necessarily exempt you from having it later in life. Certain conditions that can be associated with bruxism—such as sleep apnea, stress, and even Alzheimer’s disease—occur later in adulthood. Therefore, if you experience some of the symptoms of teeth grinding that you may not have noticed before, be sure to bring it to your dentist’s attention.
5. Children can also suffer from bruxism.
Did you know that around 2 out of every 10 children have bruxism in their earlier years? This can be a result of dental pain or even a misaligned bite, though the exact cause isn’t known. Thankfully, children tend to grow out of it—though you should be sure to discuss the possibility of using a mouthguard with their dentist.
If you’re dealing with bruxism, you’re in luck—there are treatments for this oral health issue. In fact, it may even be as simple as wearing a nightguard while you sleep.
To determine the cause of your bruxism and find a solution, call Aurora Dental Group to set up your dentist appointment today!