How Do You Define Bruxism and Where Does It Come From?

One in every three people is believed to have bruxism. Do you have problems with clenching or grinding your teeth? Have you heard of a clenching teeth headache?  

Maybe you are bruxing without realizing it. A lot of people clench their teeth when they're stressed. Many suffer from sleep bruxism where they're grinding, clenching or gnashing their teeth while they sleep. 

How do medical professionals define bruxism? How did this medical condition come about? Keep reading to learn about bruxism, its origins and what you can do about it. 

How Do You Define Bruxism? 

Bruxism is the condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. While most people do this occasionally, it becomes a problem when it is done on a regular basis. It can cause damage to the teeth, jaw pain, and headaches. 

When you have bruxism, you may unconsciously perform these behaviors while awake or asleep. 

Causes of Bruxism

Though the cause of this disorder is not fully understood, doctors believe that it is caused by a combination of genetic, physical and psychological factors. 

Stress, anxiety, tension, teeth misalignment, and sleep disorders are common causes.

Think about what you're doing with your jaw and your teeth during tense or stressful situations. 

Your lifestyle choices can also lead to bruxism. Using drugs, drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, and smoking tobacco may increase the occurrence of bruxism. 

Bruxism can also be a side effect of certain antidepressants. It is often associated with other medical conditions like Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, sleep apnea, ADHD, night terrors, dementia and more. 

What is Grinding?

Grinding is when you rhythmically clench your jaw and move your top teeth against the bottom teeth. It can lead to fractures, worn or loose teeth, soreness in the jaw, and headaches. 

When left untreated, tooth loss, dentures, root canals and/or crowns might eventually be necessary. 

Sleep Apnea Teeth Grinding

Sleep apnea is one of the biggest risk factors for bruxism. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the throat relax and block the airway causing an interruption in breathing.

25% of people with obstructive sleep apnea grind their teeth while sleeping, occurring in men more than women. 

Managing your sleep apnea condition will likely end the nighttime teeth grinding. 

What Can You Do to Stop It?

A dentist can fit you with a mouthguard. 

You can exercise, do yoga, or meditate to combat stress. 

Relax your jaw before bed by placing a warm washcloth on your face in front of your earlobe. 

Check out the best mouthguard for grinding teeth here. This product is made in the USA and is very affordable. 

Don't Let Bruxism Get the Better of You

Stop suffering from pain in your jaw or worrying about damaged teeth. Now that you know how to define bruxism and where it came from, you can do something about it.

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