Grinding Teeth During Sleep: What Causes It?

  in  Dental
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a widespread condition among people of all ages. When teeth grinding does not happen on a regular basis, it is generally okay. But if a person grinds their teeth frequently, especially during sleep, that is when problems with oral health arise. People who grind their teeth in their sleep use orthodontic supplies, such as mouth guards to keep teeth from breaking or chipping. Teeth grinding can become a severe medical condition for some, so it is vital to understand everything we can about it.

What causes it?
If you have missing or broken teeth or an abnormal bite, you are more likely to grind your teeth during sleep than those who don't. Besides these oral conditions, stress and anxiety can also make you grind your teeth. A more severe condition - sleep apnea - can also cause bruxism.

When to go to the doctor
Not all teeth grinding circumstances require a trip to the doctor, especially if it is not chronic. But if you are a teeth grinder and you notice the following symptoms, you have to set an appointment with your doctor so they can check your condition and suggest a treatment plan. Besides the apparent grinding of the teeth, here are other symptoms to look out for.
  • Painful and sensitive teeth
  • Dull headache that starts in the temples
  • Soreness or pain in the jaw, face or neck
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Pain in the ears, but does not originate from the ears
  • Worn enamel, showing the layers on the teeth
  • Jaw muscles are tight, tired and will not open or close completely
How can bruxism harm you?
People who suffer from chronic bruxism can experience loosening, breaking and losing teeth. When this happens, they may need tooth implants, root canals, partial and complete dentures and crowns. Besides the teeth, you may also damage your jaw and cause TMJdusfunction. In worst cases, it can change the appearance of your face.

Bruxism risk factors
Here are some of the factors that can contribute to a person suffering from teeth grinding. But not all people with these following conditions may develop teeth grinding.
  • Family history. If one or more family members have bruxism, chances are you will have it too.
  • Personality. Those who are aggressive or hyperactive are at risk of developing teeth grinding.
  • Age. This condition is most common in children and goes away in adulthood.
  • Medications and substances. Certain medications such as antidepressants, smoking, caffeinated drinks and alcohol can cause bruxism.
  • Health disorders. People who suffer from conditions such as Parkinson's disease, ADHD, epilepsy, GERD and dementia are more at risk to develop bruxism than those who do not.
If you start grinding your teeth out of nowhere, you may want to look at what may be causing it. Addressing the cause first rather than looking for a cure for teeth grinding is the best move. This way, not only do you eliminate teeth grinding, but you also eliminate what causes it, which is sometimes more serious than the grinding itself.