Bruxism affects millions, but you may not have even realized it’s happening. Because that teeth-grinding happens at night during sleep, it can be difficult to identify that it’s going on. If you’re trying to identify bruxism (either for yourself or if you suspect a loved one is dealing with it), there are several symptoms you can look for.
Here are six of the most common signs to watch for when identifying bruxism:
1. Enamel loss
Healthy teeth have strong enamel to protect against decay. But a number of factors can contribute to erosion of that enamel, like drinking acidic beverages, chewing on ice and smoking. If you notice accelerated damage to your enamel, the culprit may not be your dietary habits but an issue of bruxism.
2. Cracked teeth
When a tooth’s enamel is compromised, it wreaks havoc on the strength of your teeth and could lead to irreparable damage. Cracks, chips and fractures can show up as a result of not having that enamel shield to protect them. Weakened teeth can also become loose or even fall out.
3. Grinding noises
Clenching your teeth, whether or not you’re awake, can be hard to catch if you’re doing it unconsciously. But if you’re bruxing in your sleep, your partner may notice the grinding sounds — or you may even wake yourself up with the noise. Frequent and regular grinding noises are a common sign when identifying bruxism in you or a family member.
4. Jaw pain
If you often wake up with a sore jaw (or maybe pain in your neck, temples or face), it could be that you’ve spent the night grinding your teeth. All that tension and pressure can make a lasting impression, creating discomfort well into daylight hours or becoming a chronic symptom.
5. Cheek damage
Biting the inside of your cheek is a nuisance we’re all familiar with: once it gets a little swollen, it becomes easy to do it again and again, creating what might feel like an endless cycle of discomfort. If you’re dealing with bruxism, this can happen night after night and can cause real damage.
6. Lost sleep
Bruxism can lead to tossing and turning, keeping you from getting a solid night of rest. While there’s a wide range of reasons you might not have gotten the beauty sleep you’d hoped for, consistently waking up groggy could be a result of bruxism and related restlessness.
Identifying bruxism is easiest when you know what to look for. If these symptoms sound familiar, you may want to wear a mouthguard at night to help protect your teeth (and improve your sleep, address your jaw pain and heal your cheek!). Visit www.sleepright.com for more.