Imagine waking up with headaches and mouth irritation all the time. It can be very disruptive to your day. Worse, you might be completely unaware of what is causing it. Here is an idea, it could be nocturnal teeth grinding.
Yes, nocturnal teeth grinding, also called bruxism, can cause some pretty peculiar and seemingly unrelated health problems. It can be particularly hard to realize you grind your teeth at night since you are asleep. Here is all you need to know about nocturnal teeth grinding.
From tooth damage and headaches, bruxism can cost several problems. Some problems are very hard to associate with nocturnal teeth grinding as well. Read about all the problems this can cause:
Tooth damage is the most common problem caused by nocturnal teeth grinding. You slowly chip away at your teeth as you grind them at night. It can slowly grind down the enamel, which is the protective top coating of your teeth.
And when the enamel is damaged, it opens doors for various complications. For example, you are more prone to cavities. Additionally, grinding your teeth can put pressure upwards of 250 pounds!
That is honestly kind of insane. The immense pressure can throw off your teeth' alignment and give you a ‘bad bite.’ A ‘bad bite’ is when the pressure of your bite is not distributed evenly. Therefore, some teeth endorse more force than others.
Yes, it is a scary-sounding name. Masticatory Muscle Hypertrophy is caused by bruxism, where your jaw and cheek muscles enlarge. As you might imagine, this can significantly change your appearance.
Not to be too out there, but when your facial muscles enlarge, you often look very puffy and end up with a square and harsh appearance. Grinding your teeth can also alter your appearance in other obvious ways. You might chip your tooth, and that will look odd and embarrassing.
Another problem that might surprise you about bruxism is jaw pain. The pain specifically originates in the temporomandibular joint, also called the TMJ.
The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to your skull. If this joint gets damaged, you might hear clicks when you open and close your mouth. In addition, you will also experience uncomfortable pain and muscle spasms.
Needless to say, TMJ issues are not fun. If you leave it untreated, it will get worse over time. Thankfully, there are some effective oral mandibular advancement devices like The Sweet Sleep can help you stop nocturnal teeth grinding. It can improve your sleep as well!
How about neck pain if jaw and teeth problems were not scary enough? Try clenching your jaw right now. Notice how you also use your neck muscles? Excessively grinding your teeth tightens the muscles on your neck and can cause it to ache.
And trust us, this can cause very uncomfortable neck pain and other medical complications. Teeth grinding leading to neck pain is not the most obvious thing to notice, which is why many people fail to realize that their neck pain is because of nighttime bruxism.
Teeth grinding also causes TTH - tension-type headaches. It is painful and feels like you have a tight band wrapped around your head. Tension-type headaches are one of the most common types of headaches.
TTH pain generates around the forehead or the sides of your head. Sometimes it can also be at the back of your head – which is the most annoying if you ask us.
Scientists still do not have an exhaustive list of possible causes for tension-type headaches. However, we are aware that bruxism is one of the causes. If you are suffering from TTH, treating your nocturnal teeth grinding will help.
Nighttime bruxism puts unnecessary pressure on your teeth, face, and neck muscles. It can cause regional pain around your ears and face. Headaches are a major symptom too. But we will discuss more about that in a bit.
You might unknowingly rule out your ear aches being caused by nocturnal teeth grinding since they seem completely unrelated. However, bruxism is known to cause very irritating ear pain.
Here is where things get tricky. The condition is called nocturnal teeth grinding – emphasis on the nocturnal part. If you have bruxism, you most likely grind your teeth while asleep.
This makes it very hard to realize that you are grinding your teeth. You might have some or all the health problems above. Yet, be completely unaware that your teeth grinding is causing them. Thankfully there are a couple of ways you can find out:
If your partner sleeps with you at night, they can tell you whether you grind your teeth. This is one of the easiest ways to determine whether you have bruxism.
Another way you tell is if you experience any of the above mentioned symptoms. Do you have a headache when you wake up? Or is your mouth irritated, or is your neck aching?
All these are telltale signs of bruxism. However, it can be easy to misdiagnose yourself as well. For example, you might have a headache just because you slept poorly. That is why going to a specialist is sometimes the best option.
A dental check-up at least once a year is recommended regardless of any underlying issue. But many people do not visit the dentist and miss urgent dental situations.
If you suspect you are grinding your teeth but are unsure, a dental check-up is the best option. A dentist will check your teeth and mouth and look for signs of damage or any indications.
The bright side is you can do a couple of things to treat nocturnal teeth grinding. Now that you know some surprising health problems bruxism can cause, you should be even more aware of it.
If you are already experiencing any of the problems we mentioned above, it is best to take the time to diagnose whether you suffer from nocturnal teeth grinding.