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Has your bed partner (if you have one) grumbled over your teeth grinding at night? Bruxism is associated with a sleep disorder too, but which one? And how can you treat it?
The Bruxism Association noted facial myalgia (muscle pain), ear ache, as well as tightness and stiffness of the shoulders could be symptoms of bruxism.
Oral signs include abnormal tooth wear, fracture of the teeth, inflammation and recession of the gums and premature loss of teeth.
It’s estimated that people who have bruxism are “three times more likely to suffer [from] headaches”.
The condition “rarely occurs alone”, with research consistently finding that bruxism is linked to sleep disorders.
One sleeping disorder it’s connected to is obstructive sleep apnoea.
People who use psychoactive substances are more at risk of developing bruxism.
These include: tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, or medications for sleep, depression and anxiety.
Nearly 70 percent of bruxism occurs as a result of stress or anxiety, but that’s still 30 percent of cases unaccounted for.
Treatment for bruxism
“The only proven treatments for bruxism are mandibular advancement devices, hypnosis and occlusal splints,” testified the The Bruxism Association.
What are occlusal splints?
These are “small, plastic mouth guards” that can “protect the teeth from premature wear”. They’re also known as:
- A occlusal bite guard
- A bruxism appliance
- A bite plate
- A night guard
Other benefits of using occlusal splints include reduced jaw muscle activity and reduced noise during sleep.
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It must be noted that occlusal splints “are only a control” and will not cure the condition.
Mandibular Advancement Devices
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) – another type of mouth guard – can be used to manage bruxism and sleep apnoea.
Teeth cleaning experts Colgate explained MADs are “specially fitted appliances” that bring the bottom jaw forward while you sleep.
“One study reviewed the long-terms effects of hypnosis and a positive outcome was still applicable even after 36 months,” said The Bruxism Association.
Thus, hypnosis offers promising results in terms of relieving symptoms of bruxism.
What’s sleep apnoea?
Healthcare provider Bupa UK stated obstructive sleep apnoea causes “frequent pauses in your breathing when you’re asleep”.
This can disturb your sleep, which you may not notice until the next day when you suffer from daytime sleepiness.
Senior Clinical Physiologist in Neurophysiology and Sleep at Bupa Cromwell Hospital, Ana Noir, commented on the condition.
“Obstructive sleep apnoea can really disturb your sleep, leaving you feeling tired, grouchy and not alert,” she said.
“Lifestyle changes may be enough to help you get a better night’s sleep, but if not, you may benefit from using a CPAP device.
“This device helps keep your airways open while you sleep, allowing you to sleep well and feel refreshed in the morning.”
Sleep apnoea increases a person’s risk of coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and high blood pressure.
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