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The Truth About Bruxism

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As a common condition affecting 30 to 40 million adults and children (Colgate), Bruxism occurs when individuals grind or clench their teeth. Many do not realize that they are doing this. For instance, those with nocturnal bruxism, or sleep bruxism, grind and clench their jaw while sleeping. Thus, while they may not realize what they are doing, individuals report waking up with a headache, sore jaw or facial pain. As a result, dental professionals take the symptoms of bruxism seriously, and do not want patients to assume that it is only a habit that will pass. The truth about bruxism is—continuous rubbing of the teeth causes tooth enamel to break down and weaken, leading to sensitivity and even tooth decay.

To better understand, consider the symptoms of bruxism below:

  • Contractions of the jaw muscles
  • Sound of grinding at night (perhaps a loved one has noticed this)
  • Headache in the morning (may be accompanied by pain in the face and ears)
  • Tightness or spasms in the jaw muscles
  • Pain when opening or closing the mouth
  • Swelling (usually more noticeable on one side of the face)
  • Tooth damage or broken fillings

While the exact causes of bruxism are somewhat of a mystery, it is believed to be a combination of physical, psychological and genetic components. For example, for those that grind their teeth at night, it may be due to anxiety or restlessness, a bad dream or it may be due to the positioning of one’s teeth. The same is true for those that brux during the day, as stress and emotions are believed to play a role. Understandably so, stress and personality type have become risk factors for bruxism.

Other risk factors for bruxism include certain medications, substances (alcohol, coffee) and mental and medical disorders. The following are associated with bruxism: dementia, GERD (gastroesophgeal reflux disorder), epilepsy, generalized anxiety disorder, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and sleep-related conditions such as night terrors and sleep apnea.

Avoid Costly Damage To Your Teeth

At Gramercy Dental Center, we take pride in helping patients make connections between their oral and overall health. When it comes to bruxism, we are ready to help you avoid costly damage to your teeth and gums because of it. Thus, if you suspect that you are experiencing bruxism, call the team at Gramercy Dental Center today.

Posted on behalf of Gramercy Dental Center

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