Bruxism and Sleep

 In Teeth Grinding

Like air quality or a healthy back, sleep is something you might not think much about until it becomes a problem. Then it’s likely ALL you think about.

Quality sleep is absolutely critical to our physical and mental health, allowing our bodies to rest and recover and for our mind to function effectively. But unfortunately, most of us will experience sleep disorders at some point in our lives — whether chronically for long periods of time or for brief bouts caused by a specific event or trigger.

The effects of disordered sleeping can last well beyond a groggy morning commute, creating productivity and focus problems throughout the day, leading to a dependence on stimulants like caffeine and sugar, or wreaking havoc on your teeth by clenching or grinding your jaw.

In fact, the National Sleep Foundation says that one of the biggest risk factors for bruxism (nighttime teeth grinding) is obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea and bruxism

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes sufferers to have interrupted breathing while they sleep. These interruptions happen repeatedly and for at least 10 seconds, which can have a dramatic impact on sleep quality and create oxygen starvation.

Because sleep apnea disrupts sleep and cause restlessness during sleep, many who suffer from it find themselves grinding their teeth, clenching their jaw, or snoring throughout the night — making sleep feel difficult or even impossible.

Does this sound like you? Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can run in families and is more prevalent in people who drink or smoke, who work night shifts, who are overweight, and who have a small jaw or a large overbite. Talk to your doctor if you frequently struggle to fall (and stay) asleep, regularly feel fatigued throughout the day, or often wake up with soreness or pain in your neck, jaw, head, or face.

In the meantime, a dental guard can help protect your teeth and jaw and alleviate many of those aches and pains — and it can help you stop snoring. A mouth guard worn at night keeps your teeth from grinding and helps your jaw stay relaxed, giving you (and your partner) a chance to get some better sleep as soon as tonight!

Look for SleepRight’s dental guards at your local Walgreens, Walmart, or CVS.