Monitoring your physical movements while you sleep is obviously not something that can be done easily without the help of a sleep specialist. Whether you talk in your sleep, sleep walk, or move spastically throughout the night, your overnight activity can potentially lead to further health problems.
One of the most detrimental subconscious sleeping habits is bruxism, otherwise known as teeth grinding. Most individuals experiencing bruxism are unaware that they are even doing it. Whether the teeth are being grinded, clenched, or gnashed, it’s vital to understand the serious side effects that come with this bad habit.
Bruxism is typically caused by stress, anxiety, and other emotional complications, and can occur more or less frequently depending on age. It has been reported more in children, though adults can develop this over time as well. While this habit can be done while the individual is awake, it most often occurs during sleep.
Grinding your teeth throughout the night can lead to sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea, and the pain can persist for the duration of the entire day following. Many sufferers have reported having jaw pain, headaches, and, unsurprisingly, damaged teeth after days of experiencing bruxism. It can also increase the sensitivity of one’s teeth, and even loosen them from the gums.
Work closely with your dentist to discuss your sleeping habits, daily routine, and any medication you may be taking to best diagnose if you are suffering from bruxism. Though children experiencing this complication commonly outgrow it, adults who grind their teeth in their sleep must undergo treatment to improve their dental health, and prevent them from continuing this habit in the future.
One form of treatment involves dental appliances like splints or mouth guards. These are to be worn while the individual is sleeping, which keeps their teeth separated so they are unable to grind or clench them. Should there be severe damage already done to the teeth, a dentist will almost always suggest repair through crowns or reshaping.
If a dental approach doesn’t seem to be alleviating the problem, other forms of treatment involve therapy and medications. Seeing as stress and anxiety is a common cause of bruxism, behavioral management classes can do wonders for those who can’t seem to stop grinding their teeth. Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills may help as well. In some cases, dentists may suggest muscle relaxers before going to sleep to allow the cheek and jaw muscles to loosen, which can lessen the chances of teeth grinding throughout the night.
Bruxism can be extremely detrimental to your dental health, as well as your sleeping habits, so it is best to address this issue as early on as possible. Be sure to properly manage any stress you may be experiencing in your life, develop healthy sleeping habits, and visit your dentist regularly to stay up to date with your oral health, and aware of your overnight activity.