What is Bruxism

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding. Bruxism typically occurs at night while we are asleep and is among the commonest sleep disorders. Most individuals are unaware of their bruxism and may not spot the damage they do to their teeth or associate the pain and sensitivity in their teeth and jaw muscles. This often leads to tooth damage and jaw muscle discomfort. It can impact grown-ups and children but is most typical in adults aged from their mid twenties to their mid 40s. It's believed that up to 10% of people suffer from bruxism.

The causes of bruxism are varied and range from increased anxiety and stress, to psychological problems and drug abuse. Unfortunately there are no cures for bruxism. Bruxism can occur when you are awake or when you are asleep. Awake bruxism will tend to just be a clenching of the teeth, whereas bruxism during sleep also involves grinding of the teeth. Numerous studies have found links between sleeping problems and bruxism, the strongest being between bruxism and obstructive sleep apnoea, this is a condition where the suffere has regular pauses of breathing while asleep. Stress, anxiety, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco are known to increase the possibility of teeth grinding during sleep.

The causes are essentially unknown. It may be induced by stress or occlusal imbalance, or jaw displacements. Occlusal interferences e.g. a high restoration. There may be a genetic or familial predisposition. Some diet factors may trigger the onset or weaken the enamel hastening tooth loss,eg beef, cafeine, and dietary stimulants. The acids contained in drinks and fruit may soften the enamel. And the use of abrasive toothpaste and abrasive tooth brushes may hasten the process.