Bruxism is a very unusual condition as the name implies. It is very disconcerting for a husband or wife when the other partner has a nervous condition of grinding the teeth especially during sleep. Bruxism comes from the word ‘gnash’ as the gnashing of teeth. No one is quite sure what causes this condition but the professional consensus is that it is caused by stress. A tense of disturbing occurrence during the day may bring on an attack.
This condition could be the cause of health problems. As expected the grinding cause the teeth to wear down. Extreme force is exerted on the teeth, gum and joints of the mouth. It is said to be three times the force used in chewing. This happens because the action is not under the control of a rational brain. When people are chewing, food comes between the upper and lower teeth and forms a cushion for the teeth. Bruxing could prevent the proper chewing of food as it breaks down enamel, reducing teeth to stumps.
The absence of enamel from the teeth causes bacteria to penetrate and produce cavities. Chronic bruxers are always in need of some kind of tooth repair. They may need bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures or complete dentures. Providing bruxers with implants is counterproductive as the majority of implant fractures happen to bruxers.
The excessive use of the muscles of the jaw could swell the salivary glands and interfere with the flow of saliva into the mouth resulting in dry mouth. It can also cause Temporomandibular disorder (TMDS). This is pain and other symptoms affecting the head, jaw and face. There is difficulty in opening the mouth, ‘locking’ of the jaws and clicking noises as the mouth is opened or closed.
There are some things that can be done to minimise the number of bouts of this malady. It is recommended to practise during the day to keep the lips of the mouth together with the upper and lower teeth not touching. Before going to bed, crunch on an apple or raw carrot. Take a warm bath and relax. Get a massage of the muscles of the neck, shoulder and face. Cut down on caffeine and sugar. Try to reduce daily stress. Learn a few relaxation techniques.
Ref: Dr. Moti Nissani
You can apply heat to your jaws. Fold up a washcloth and run hot water over it. Apply it to the sides of the face. Repeat the procedure a few times. Try wearing a mouth guard at night. Put it in hot water and bite down for a better fit. You can also be fitted with a better fitting mouth guard by a orthodontist.