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What's Bruxism (teeth grinding)


Have you ever shared a room with someone that grinds their teeth during sleep? I can relate. Aside from the annoying or scary sound produced, you find it difficult to sleep,because you keep tapping the person to stop grinding their teeth.

The act of grinding or clenching your teeth is known as "bruxism". Bruxism is a condition where you clench or grind your teeth. It is categorized into two;

1. Awake bruxism is when you unconsciously clench your teeth when you are awake and active. this is often done when trying to concentrate on something.

2. Sleep bruxism is refered to a sleep- related movement disorder where you either grind or clench your teeth in your sleep. when you grind or clench your teeth during sleep, you are more likely to have other sleep disorders like sleep apnea(snoring and pause in breathing).

Most kids experience sleep bruxism, which stops after sometime. Generally, mild bruxism does not require treatment, but severe bruxism can lead to jaw disorders, damaged teeth, headaches, aching or sore jaw when you wake up in the morning. People having sleep apnea are often unaware untill complications set in. these are common sugns and symptoms of bruxism;

  • teeth grinding or clenching loud enough to disturb the sleep of others in the room.
  • increased tooth sensitivity or pain
  • flattened, chipped or fractured teeth
  • pains that appear as earache, even ehrn it's not.
  • jaw, neck or face soreness
  • dull headaches
  • sleep disruption
  • damage from chewing the wall of your cheek.

What causes bruxism?

Experts don't fully understand the cause of bruxism, but it has been associated with a combination of physical, psychologica and genetic factors. there is a tendency of you having bruxism if one of your parents does.

  • Awake bruxism may be a coping mechanism when you are stressed, angry, and frustrated. it may also be a habit when concentrating.
  • Sleep bruxism may be a sleep-related chewing activity linked with arousals during sleep.

What are the risk factors?

  • Age, common in children but stops by adulthood
  • Stress, emotions like anxiety, anger and frustration
  • Personality, personality type such as been hyperactive, competitive, and aggrssive can increase your risk
  • Family, if bruxism occurs among family memebers or has history of bruxism.
  • Disorders, bruxism can be lin ked with medical disorders and some mental health such as dementia, epilepsy, ADHD, parkinson's disease, and others.

Severe or complicated bruxism can lead to damaged teeth, jaw or crowns, severe jaw pain, and tension-type headaches.

if you are experience any of these symptoms see a dentist. Do you have a partner with bruxism? share your experience.


Wow... That's interesting. I can relate with you. I visited a family during semester break and shared the room with their children, oh my God.... Almost every night, I wake their son to stop grinding his teeth. Many times I slap him out of frustration, but that didn't stop until I left for school. It's wasn't a funny experience at all.  

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