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Sleep bruxism and sleep apnea are separate health conditions which are sometimes linked. Both interfere with the ability to sleep soundly; and insomnia in itself can be debilitating.

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Bruxism

Sleep bruxism is grinding and clenching the upper and lower teeth while sleeping. There are many possible negative effects of sleep bruxism, including the following:

  • Severe headaches.
  • Sore jaw muscles.
  • A tooth or teeth can hurt, become loose, or become flattened.
  • Bone and gum tissue in the mouth can be destroyed.
  • It can lead to temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ).

Causes of Sleep Bruxism

Although research into the cause of sleep bruxism isn’t considered conclusive, the following are some possible causes:

  • A pain response, such as to an earache
  • Tension, stress, and anxiety
  • Frustration and anger
  • Psychosocial disorders in adolescents

Treatment of Bruxism

Because of the potential negative effects of sleep bruxism, it’s a condition which should be dealt with.

Home remedies

Home remedies can be a potential source of relief for sleep bruxism. Most of these natural techniques focus on relaxing the body and attempting to provide relief from mental stresses.

Some examples of home remedies for sleep bruxism follow:

  • Place a washrag that’s soaked in tepid water on your jaw line, from one side of your face to the other. This should help to relax your mouth so that less teeth clenching occurs during the night while you’re sleeping.
  • Before bedtime, eat crunchy vegetables and fruit. The chewing activity is tantamount to exercising your mouth. The exercise should provide a soothing effect on the mouth, which can diminish teeth grinding.
  • Sleep on your back, which should decrease the level of teeth grinding which occurs during the night, as compared to when you sleep on your stomach or side.
  • Avoid stimulants such as alcohol or caffeinated drinks in the evening. Instead, drink herbal tea or warm milk.

Doctor or Dentist Care

As a patient under the care of a dentist or doctor, you’ll probably answer a lot of questions initially. This will help the doctor determine what the best approach will be to address your sleep bruxism. Common dental devices used to manage teeth grinding are repositioning splints, also referred to as occlusal splints or night guards. These appliances don’t provide a cure for sleep bruxism, but they serve an important function. A great deal of damage can be done to the teeth because of teeth grinding, and occlusal splints prevent the damage from occurring.

Night guards are available over the counter; but, without the perfect fit, they aren’t as reliable as custom splints from doctors.

In many ways, the type of advice a doctor or dentist may give will be similar to home remedies. Because of the strong link between sleep bruxism and stress, a prescription may involve finding ways to reduce anxiety and relax after the pressure of the day. A dentist may find that an abnormal bite is creating bruxism. Fillings, crowns, and orthodontics can help to correct an abnormal bite.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep ApneaSleep apnea is a sleep disorder which involves interrupted breathing during sleep. Anyone who has sleep apnea may stop breathing intermittently throughout the night. Breathing could stop literally numerous times. This is a serious sleep disorder because the body and brain may not get enough oxygen.

There is a couple of sleep apnea, both of which are serious; obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most typical of the two. Obstruction of the airway occurs in people who have OSA. What’s taking place during sleep is that the delicate tissue behind the throat breaks.

Central sleep apnea involves a failure of the brain to indicate the muscles to initiate breathing. This condition is caused by lack of stability within the respiratory system. Airway obstruction is not a factor in central sleep apnea.

Many health problems can occur if sleep apnea goes untreated, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure, heart attacks, and irregular heartbeats
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Worsening of ADHD
  • Daytime left ventricular (LV) systolic function is affected

Another problem that can occur as a result of sleep apnea is an inability to adequately function when performing everyday activities, including at work and at school. Driving while fatigued as a result of sleep apnea can lead to a collision and injury or death.

While sleep apnea can affect anyone, including children, risk factors include:

  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Over 40 years old
  • Overweight
  • A large neck size (17” or more in men and 16” or more in women)
  • Large tonsils, a small jaw bone, or a large tongue
  • Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
  • A nasal obstruction (due to allergies), sinus problems, or a deviated septum (physical disorder).

The Connection Between Sleep Bruxism and Sleep Apnea

Sleep bruxism is a condition which rarely occurs without other contributing issues. People who have obstructive sleep apnea are among those with the highest risk factor for developing sleep bruxism.

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