A lot of adults grind their teeth when they sleep. This is an oral health issue because the damage is inflicted when a person is unaware of it. Teeth grinding results in weakened and slightly deformed teeth. Along with this, it can create soreness in the mouth and jaw which, at times, may be accompanied by mild bleeding from the gums.
Known as bruxism in the dental world, teeth grinding is clearly no laughing matter because of the damage and physical discomfort it creates. But what really are the causes of bruxism in adults? Dental and sleep experts have rounded them up below:
A person’s daily routines, lifestyle preferences and tendencies can increase sleep-related issues. The frequent use of psychoactive substances such as alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and even sleep aids can lead to bruxism.
Anxiety, stress and other mental disorders can trigger teeth grinding. In fact, a study reveals that 70% of bruxism happens because of stress or anxiety — as if it were a subconscious manifestation of being at odds with situations. Other studies also discovered that people who suffered stress due to dissatisfaction or unhappiness with their shifting work schedules were more prone to bruxism than those who were not. Likewise, the men in this study demonstrated higher levels of work-related stress, depressive symptoms and bruxism whereas none of these symptoms were significant for the women who participated in the study.
Of course, it’s important to mention that not all adults who deal with a lot of stress grind their teeth while asleep. However, for those with bruxism, stress does often play a role in the condition.
Research presents that bruxism is quite prevalent among individuals with sleep disorders such as breathing pauses and obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, and parasomnias. It is said that nocturnal bruxism is the subconscious effort exerted by patients to protect their airway during sleep. Of the aforementioned sleep disorders, obstructive sleep apnea presents the highest risk factor because it’s lined with an arousal response.
There are a vast variety of treatments available for this condition. People with this condition can give them a try (as advised by their dentists or trusted sleep experts) in order to determine which is most effective for them. But perhaps, the easiest solution that many can try is a mouth guard; this will help make sure that even if people grind and clench their teeth, these are properly protected so they don’t wear away because these mouth guards prevent teeth-on-teeth action.
If you have additional questions for a dentist in the Burtonsville area, contact the professionals at Nicholas Dental Care today!