According to the American Dental Association, an estimated 10% of US individuals grind their teeth at night or live with a condition called sleep bruxism. Up to 15% of these populations are children. What’s worse is that most of these individuals are not even aware of their condition.
Bruxism is a condition characterized by the grinding and clenching of teeth during sleep. This condition can lead to persistent jaw pain, headache, poor sleep, and may even lead to tooth loss. The good news is, sleep bruxism is manageable and can be diagnosed by your dentist during your routine dental checkup.
Causes of Sleep Bruxism
There is no definite cause why a person experiences sleep bruxism. However, the factors below can increase the risk of sleep bruxism:
- Stress and anxiety
- Sleep apnea
- Smoking and alcoholism
- Caffeine intake
- Genetic disorder such as Parkinson’s disease
- Side effects of certain medications
Night Guard as Treatment for Bruxism
Wearing a night mouth guard is a popular solution to treat sleep bruxism. The mouth guard is worn at night during sleep to help absorb the force of the grinding and clenching of teeth and minimize its impact on the teeth and jaw.
Are you experiencing symptoms of sleep bruxism? Are you considering wearing a night guard? While there is no absolute treatment for sleep bruxism, wearing a nightguard will offer you the following benefits:
Get a good night sleep
Nightguards are designed to relax the jaw muscle and increase the airflow between your teeth and jaw; therefore, giving you more space to breathe. Snoring can significantly disrupt your sleep. And since your jaw muscles will be more relaxed with nightguards, there will be less snoring during your sleep; thus, giving you a perfect night sleep.
Reduce the occurrence of headache and jaw pain
If you have been experiencing constant headaches because of bruxism, then wearing a nightguard may be the best option for you. You feel headache and facial and jaw pain in the morning due to your facial muscles overworking at night. Another purpose of a nightguard is to help adjust and balance your bite by allowing your jaw muscles to relax and rest. With this, not only people living with sleep bruxism will benefit from wearing a nightguard, but also those suffering from Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ).
Prevents costly dental treatment
Bruxism can cause wearing and tearing of your teeth leading to tooth loss if left untreated. You may start to notice your teeth getting chipped, then eventually damage your tooth’s enamel. Dental treatment can be very costly since it is not included in your traditional healthcare insurance and wearing a nightguard will serve as an investment. It is essential to manage your bruxism as the constant grinding and clenching of teeth may cost you expensive dental treatments like replacement fillings, outlays, inlays, and others.
Several types of night guards can be purchased over-the-counter or can be custom-fit by your dentist. If you suspect you have bruxism and you want to manage its symptoms, talk to your dentist for a good night guard for your needs.