We all know, or are learning, just how important sleep is to our health. We need to get a good night’s sleep, every night. Poor sleeping habits can cause us all sorts of health problems, from the bothersome to the quite serious. So it might be difficult to also accept that nighttime can be a bad time for our dental health.
While we’re sleeping, bacteria and plaque that cause gum disease and cavities can be building up. If we snore or sleep with our mouths open, the added mouth dryness can increase the negative effects of plaque. But perhaps one of the most damaging actions that can affect your teeth while you sleep is grinding them.
Grinding is a problem, whatever time of the day it happens
Whether you clench your teeth during the day or grind them at night – or both – the action, called bruxism, puts a lot of pressure on your teeth, jaw and even head. The results can be:
- Cracked, broken teeth
- Worn down teeth
- Damaged dental work
- Sore, achy jaw
- Tooth pain
What causes bruxism?
There can be various reasons for this bad habit, including:
- Misaligned teeth
- TMJ, TMD
- Sleep apnea
Protect your teeth from the grind
Your dentist can help you determine what could be causing your bruxism, and create an individualized treatment plan. For many, a customized plastic teeth/mouth guard can go a long way toward protecting your precious teeth by protecting them from the strong vertical force of grinding.
Grinding and sleep apnea
Sometimes bruxism is a sign that you have sleep apnea. That’s because bruxism can be an instinctual response of advancing your jaw forward when your airway is blocked. Treating sleep apnea can protect your health, and it protects your teeth by eliminating your need to grind.
Work with your dentist to identify why you grind at night
At Dr. Barneys, we treat TMJ, TMD, sleep apnea and bruxism. Therefore, make an appointment to have your problem diagnosed so that you can begin helpful treatment as soon as possible. Call today: (304) 754-8803.