How grinding your teeth at night can be connected to sleep apnea

How grinding your teeth at night can be connected to sleep apnea

Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism is the process of involuntary grinding or clenching of teeth. Bruxism is divided into two types. Awake Bruxism and sleep Bruxism. These two types are totally different considering the damage that they cause to the teeth. Sleep Bruxism is considered to be way more dangerous than Awake Bruxism.

When you wake up in the morning and look in the morning, do you ever feel like your teeth aren’t of the same length as before? As if they have been worn down? This could be because of unconscious gridding of teeth. In most of the cases, it is also a big factor in causing dull headaches, pain in the neck, jaw or face when you wake up in the morning. It also promotes teeth sensitivity.

Sleep Apnea and Grinding Teeth:

Sleep Apnea, a sleep disorder, is said to be the primary cause of sleep Bruxism. This sleep disorder occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during the sleep. The reason for this inconsistent breathing is the relaxation of throat muscles at night which block the airways and interrupt the breathing. This shallow breathing may cause lack of oxygen in the brain and the body which can contribute to the involuntary grinding of teeth.

Although teeth grinding is actually an oral health problem but it can also be caused by sleep apnea. In most of the cases, it is only your dentist who can point it out to you. When you firstly go to get your grinding teeth treated, your dentists may ask you about the symptoms of sleep apnea. You may be asked to carry out a sleep test which will determine the future course of action for the treatment.      

Patients Prone to Sleep Bruxism and Sleep Apnea:

There are certain groups of people who the doctors have found to be more vulnerable to sleep apnea. The research shows that most of these people also suffer from sleep Bruxism. These people include:

  • People with anxiety and depression
  • People with long Necks
  • Petite Women
  • People who did not breastfeed as infants
  • Children with OCD, ADHD

There are some other cases like if you are overweight or in the habit of snoring loudly, this could also be because of Bruxism or Sleep Apnea.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea and Sleep Bruxism:

Fortunately, there are some ways in which you can get rid of both of these problems.

  • You can use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This applies mild air pressure to the airways and keeps them open allowing you to breathe properly.
  • You may also be asked to use a custom made oral appliance made specifically for you along with other therapies and medications as prescribed by your dentist.

Sleep apnea and teeth grinding are closely related so you should focus on treating the root cause first. In most of the cases, managing sleep apnea eventually stops teeth grinding. If you are suffering from Sleep Bruxism then you are recommended to take a sleep study first to find out the root cause of teeth grinding. This could help a lot in the treatment of grinding teeth.