However, recent studies show that oral facial skeleton or dental issues aren’t the cause of bruxism. Instead, bruxism happens due to external factors, including but not limited to stress, anxiety, sleep apnea, and even some lifestyle choices. In addition to that, bruxism can be elevated when there are existing sleep disorders present, like snoring and breathing pauses.
On top of that, there’s no clear solution to bruxism. But, dentists recommend using dental guards to help cushion the teeth against grinding and allow for better sleep. Dental guards protect the teeth from excessive damage, jaw pain, and headaches. However, if the causes of bruxism are known, it’s easier to keep the symptoms under control and prevent dental damage. Here’s all you need to know about what causes bruxism.
Stress commonly leads to tensed jaw muscles which can trigger the clenching motion. Jaw clenching is the first step toward bruxism. If a person’s constantly stressed and clenches their jaw, it won’t take long for them or to subconsciously start grinding it. This stress can result from frustration, anger, and even poor sleeping habits. Usually, stress-induced bruxism happens while a person is awake, but it can slowly progress to sleep bruxism. The best way to prevent stress-induced bruxism is to train the mind to unclench the jaw each time you notice it.
Anxiety is considered one of the primary causes of bruxism. According to doctors, the nerves running from the brain to the jaw are responsible for the fight-or-flight response commonly found in people with anxiety issues. This usually causes jaw clenching, but prolonged clenching can trigger the grinding and lead to bruxism. In some cases, bruxism can happen after a traumatic event in a person’s life, such as an accident or injury. Besides that, bruxism can increase a person’s anxiety because it affects sleep quality. If a person isn’t getting proper sleep, their brain will be tired, increasing their anxiety levels.
In certain cases, brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia can also lead to bruxism. This is because bruxism and Parkinson’s disease share common symptoms like TMD and irregular sleep. Additionally, brain disorders such as these can cause stress and anxiety, especially if people struggle to remember things. as a result, the stress and anxiety can turn into bruxism. Patients with Parkinson’s and dementia also report sleep disorders like sleep apnea which can trigger teeth grinding.
Snoring is another common cause of bruxism. Snoring can disrupt the quality of sleep and your breathing pattern. Long pauses in breathing can stress out the mind and make it harder to achieve REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep. This stress can lead to a clenched jaw which ultimately turns into teeth grinding. This tooth grinding can elevate snoring, cause jaw pain, and disrupt the quality of sleep. This starts a neverending cycle where poor sleep leads to snoring, which in turn leads to bruxism and poor sleep.
Sleep apnea is a breathing condition where a person’s breathing stops several times throughout the night. This prevents the body from getting proper oxygen, and as a result, the mind becomes stressed. The body sends stress signals to the brain in response. This stress causes the jaw muscles to tense up and eventually leads to teeth grinding. Bruxism combined with sleep apnea isn’t ideal and should be checked by a medical professional to prevent serious health issues.
Medication, especially those used to treat psychological issues, can also cause bruxism. Medication, particularly antidepressants, inhibits certain receptors in the brain, which can increase stress in the beginning before the effects of antidepressants are visible. During this time, a person can experience bruxism as the mind is stressed due to a lack of active receptors. Besides the effect of the medication, joint-related symptoms are also elevated, which causes jaw clenching.
Indulging in excessive drinking can increase a person's chances of developing bruxism. There are several reasons why drinking triggers bruxism. One, drinking constantly irritates your gum tissues which might release stress signals. As a result, you might clench your jaw and grind your teeth to relieve the irritation. Secondly, drinking also affects your sleep cycle, which can again trigger bruxism. Finally, the alcohol withdrawal symptoms are also a big cause of bruxism because the withdrawal symptoms stress out the brain, and the stress triggers teeth grinding.
People who smoke have a higher chance of triggering bruxism. Overconsumption of nicotine combined with caffeine can lead to severe bruxism and more adverse health effects. Severe bruxism is characterized by vigorous teeth grinding that deteriorates not only the teeth but also causes headaches, jaw pain, and neck pain. Moreover, nicotine withdrawal symptoms can cause jaw clenching and lead to daytime bruxism. Smoking-induced bruxism isn’t limited to just cigarettes. Instead, it can be triggered by nicotine pouches, vapes, e-cigarettes, and other stimulants. Additionally, it’s also one of the hardest to treat due to the addictive nature of smoking.
What you eat doesn’t directly influence bruxism. However, there are eating habits and lifestyle changes that can trigger bruxism. The main cause is poor diet. When you starve yourself or do not eat enough to get proper nutrients, it can stress out the brain. This happens because the brain struggles to fulfill the daily nutrient requirements to function properly. This stress affects the sleep cycle and can lead to bruxism. Diet-related bruxism is more common during the day when your brain can send stress signals to you.
While bruxism doesn’t have a clear-cut solution, it’s still important to consult a doctor and get a proper diagnosis. Usually, dentists recommend wearing custom dental guards to reduce the effects of bruxism. A mouthguard won’t cure bruxism, but it can prevent tooth damage and reduce the symptoms of headaches. This happens because the dental guards create a cushioning effect on top of the teeth which reduces the pressure on the gums and the jaw due to the grinding motion.
Teeth guards also protect your enamel from damage, which can lead to sensitivity later on. But remember to go for custom dental guards and not over-the-counter ones. Over-the-counter guards don’t fit properly and can also break due to the added pressure. On the other hand, custom ones are made to fit your teeth and offer ample protection.
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Dental guards are an ideal choice to reduce the effects of bruxism, prevent teeth damage, and get a full night’s sleep. However, getting over-the-counter dental guards isn’t a good option because they can cause discomfort and insufficient protection against bruxism.
On the other hand, Clear Comfort Dental Guards offers custom mouthguards for bruxism and related issues. Our company houses trained technicians to create high-quality custom-made guards. We offer different guards, including soft, ultra-soft, hard, and ultra-hard dental guards. In addition, we also sell sports mouthguards for people who actively play sports.
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