What is bruxism?

Bruxism is a medical condition in which the patient unconsciously clenches or clenches their teeth, often during sleep. It affects many children and adults and can be a serious condition. People with this condition suffer from a number of dental and related medical problems that can worsen over time if teeth grinding is not corrected. Many people who have it are unaware of their condition, as they just grind their teeth while unconscious. Often, a person sleeping in the same room as the affected person is the one who discovers the problem, due to the characteristic sound.

Chronic jaw clenching can cause pain in the jaw, ears, or face, as well as muscle pain and headaches. Additionally, bruxism can damage teeth through chipping or erosion. The teeth of a person with this problem may become more sensitive and more prone to cavities as the enamel wears away. The condition can even affect the victim's sleeping partner, as the noise of teeth grinding can be loud enough to prevent a good night's sleep.

Lifestyle may contribute to the development of bruxism, although the extent to which this is true is not known. Excessive alcohol intake, along with poor exercise and sleep habits, are thought to contribute to the condition. Stress can also be a factor, particularly in those whose grinding appears during waking hours. However, many cases are due to a misaligned jaw or teeth, especially in children. Bruxism can also be a symptom of another illness or a side effect of certain medications.

The most common treatment for bruxism is a mouthguard worn during sleep. This can prevent damage to the teeth and minimize tooth grinding behavior. Mouthguards can be purchased over the counter or custom fitted. Lifestyle changes such as consciously relaxing your jaw during the day, managing stress, and making sure you get a full night's sleep can also help.

Go up