A growing body of studies shows a positive association between bruxism and sleep apnea. For the uninitiated, sleep apnea is a common condition in which your breathing stops and restaurants many times while you sleep. During sleep, the tongue and throat muscles are usually more relaxed, which causes the soft tissues to block the airways.
As a coping mechanism, the body sends stress hormones that trigger the jaw to clench and grind, thus leading to bruxism.
Although sleep disorder is just one cause of bruxism, treating apnea could prevent the lifelong complications that are often caused by excessive teeth grinding.
We’ve rounded up four habits that can lead to bruxism.
Smoking has devastating consequences for one’s health. However, it can also cause bruxism, as suggested by several studies. It is believed that symptoms related to bruxism are about three times higher in tobacco users than non-users. Although the precise reason why smoking causes bruxism isn’t understood, scientists believe that it’s got something to do with how our dopamine system works.
One of the most common causes of bruxism is a change in dopamine levels, the feel-good hormone. Changing the dopamine levels in the brain can cause you to grind your teeth. Smoking can trigger the release of dopamine in the body, thus disrupting the motor activity of the brain.
Drinking Too Many Caffeinated Beverages
Drinks that contain high levels of caffeine, such as tea, coffee, and energy drinks, can increase one’s risk of bruxism. It doesn't help that caffeine can stay in the body for several hours. During this time, it disrupts muscle activity which could lead to teeth grinding and clenching.
Alcohol isn’t the primary cause of bruxism, but it can make the condition worse. Researchers aren't sure about the role that alcohol plays in triggering bruxism. One theory suggests that alcohol can interrupt the circadian rhythm and block REM sleep. This can worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea and cause bruxism.
It is believed that alcohol can trigger bruxism by the following mechanisms of action:
Alterations to these chemicals will disrupt motor activity, which can increase bruxism.
Antidepressants have been known to cause bruxism within a few weeks of medication. In particular, two types of medications have been linked to bruxism: SSRIs and SNRIs. Both medications work by disrupting the brain’s neurotransmitters. Common examples of drugs that can induce bruxism include:
The best way to determine if your bruxism is caused by antidepressants is to talk to your healthcare provider. It is suggested that antidepressant medication can trigger the symptoms of bruxism within 3 to 4 weeks. If the timeline of your taking antidepressants and the symptoms of bruxism matches, you may have identified the root cause of your condition.
Note that you shouldn’t discontinue the antidepressant medication without consulting with your healthcare provider. Any change in medication must be discussed with your healthcare provider. Stopping the use of antidepressants is dangerous and could cause withdrawal symptoms.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea may occur because something is blocking the airway or because the brain does not control your breathing.
The result is that it can starve some parts of the body of oxygen and can trigger a survival reflex that may cause you to take up to start breathing again. Another survival mechanism is to force the mouth to clench the jaw muscles tight, which leads to teeth grinding.
The most common causes of sleep apnea include excessive weight and age. Your sleep position may also have a role in sleep apnea. Sleeping on the back can worsen sleep apnea; whale sleeping on the side may alleviate the condition.
This is because when you lie on your back, the tongue and other soft tissue fall back on the throat, causing breathing difficulties.
Obesity can cause sleep apnea due to the buildup of excessive tissues around the airway, which can negatively impact the airway when the body relaxes at night. Worse still, sleep apnea can also lead to more weight gain, thus creating a vicious cycle where one condition causes the other.
How to Treat Teeth Grinding
Treating bruxism can greatly improve your quality of life and prevent oral problems. The condition can lead to negative side effects such as headaches, jaw pain, and chipped teeth. It is important to consult with a dentist to identify the root cause of your bruxism. Stopping certain habits, such as smoking and alcohol, can also help you stop clenching and grinding.
A teeth-grinding can is a highly recommended option that can protect your teeth from the effects of bruxism. A mouth guard is a non-invasive way of treating bruxism during sleep and while you're awake.
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Another solution is to improve your sleep patterns and relax before bedtime. Some patients prefer to take painkillers like ibuprofen and paracetamol to help with jaw pain and swelling.
Teeth misalignment can also cause bruxism. When teeth fail to meet orderly, they lessen jaw stability. This increases the stress on the muscles and joints within the jaw. Over time, this can lead to bruxism. A common way to fix teeth misalignment is to wear braces to gradually move the teeth into optimal positions.
Another solution is to undergo reductive coronoplasty treatment to reshape the teeth. Reductive coronoplasty is reformed by the selective removal of enable to help the mouth close properly. This will alleviate the stress on the jaw and muscles.
Finally, you should try to alleviate your stress and other mental health issues. This is because stress has been linked to teeth grinding. Consider starting an exercise program and obtaining muscle relaxants to alleviate your condition.
So, there you have it, an in-depth look at the most common habits and causes that lead to bruxism and sleep apnea. If you want to treat bruxism, consider placing an order for custom made night guard