Demystifying bruxism and looking at ways of controlling the condition
Bruxism is a condition where an individual subconsciously grinds, gnashes, or clenches his or her teeth. This might happen during the day when one is awake and it might also happen at night when one is asleep. Bruxism might be mild but it could also be intensive. Intensive bruxism might lead to adverse effects on the individual including; tired, sore, or uncomfortable jaws; attrition and chipping off of the teeth enamel, gum injuries and bleeding gums; and headaches or pain in the ears.
Bruxism is many times a result of prevalent psychological conditions including anxiety, fear, stress and other emotional adversities. People who experience bruxism while awake might do so due to exerting a lot of mental concentration or physical exertion whereas many times when the bruxism occurs in the night it is as a result of psychological discord.
Bruxism also occurs due to medicinal after effects. Prescription drugs such as antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs are known to cause bruxism. The usage of recreational drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine can also cause one to experience bruxism. An individual’s lifestyle that includes the regular intake of alcohol, smoking, and intake of lots of caffeine is also known to increase bruxism.
Bruxism is a condition that usually affects people who are around 25 to 44 years of age. Awake bruxism (bruxism while one is awake) is usually more common in women whereas sleep bruxism is more common in males. During awake bruxism, teeth grinding is rare and many only experience teeth clenching or jaw bracing which is usually as a result of stimuli from the activities they are involved in.
Sleep bruxism is often associated with other sleep disorders; chief of which is obstructive sleep apnoea. This is a condition where the individual has periods of erratic breathing. During the termination of sleep apnoea, the individual may exhibit other actions such as snoring, gasping, and mumbling in their sleep.
Many people who have bruxism are not aware of the fact. This is especially the case for people who experience bruxism in their sleep. They may only realize that they suffer from the condition after waking up when they experience pains in their jaws, headaches, or ear aches. Teeth wear and tear is also a good indication of bruxism. Other people might be able to easily detect bruxism in an individual by noticing the grinding or gnashing sounds produced or by observing the individual’s mouth actions.
There is no definite cure for bruxism but it is a condition that can be controlled through various ways. One of the easiest most straight forward ways of dealing with bruxism is wearing night mouth guards.
The mouth guard is a device worn in the mouth to cover the teeth. Mouth guards, or mouth splints work in controlling bruxism by taking away the sensation that one gets when teeth clenching, grinding, or teeth gnashing. The mouth guards also help in protecting the teeth from damage through attrition.
Behavioral therapies might also be employed in helping ease off the bruxism occurrences; this is where an individual is trained to change how one thinks and how one reacts. Therapy and drugs can also be used to reduce the stress that ignites bruxism.
Lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol, smoking, caffeine and recreational drugs are also ways of controlling bruxism.