Teeth grinding also known as “bruxism” is a condition wherein a person grinds or clenches his or her teeth. A person suffering from bruxism unconsciously grinds or clenches his or her teeth during the day or even during his or her sleep. Teeth grinding that occurs during sleep is called “sleep bruxism”. Teeth grinding commonly affects children, but adults can also be affected. Teeth grinding is not a serious medical condition, but it needs medical attention, since it can have bad effects to a person’s mouth and other long-term complications.
Risk Factors for Teeth Grinding
Teeth Grinding or Bruxism
There are several different factors that can increase a person’s risk for teeth grinding or bruxism. Here are some of the common risk factors for teeth grinding:
Increased Levels of Stress – This is one of the most common risk factor of teeth grinding. People who are chronically stressed have higher chances of developing chronic teeth grinding.
Age – teeth grinding in children are quite common and usually wards off as children mature. However, there are some children who can’t outgrow their teeth grinding and sometimes, teeth grinding can be caused by an underlying medical condition and/or sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.
Malocclusion (abnormal alignment) of the Upper and Lower Teeth can increase the risk for teeth grinding or bruxism.
Stimulating Substances – substances such as caffeine, tobacco, methamphetamine, and other illegal drugs are proven to increase a person’s risk for teeth grinding or bruxism.
How to Know if You are Suffering from Teeth Grinding?
Even if people with bruxism grind their teeth unconsciously during the day, they are still aware that they are suffering from teeth grinding. However, the problem is when a person does not suffer from bruxism during the day, but while he or she is sleeping. Most people who are suffering from sleep bruxism are not aware of their condition and they usually deny that they have a teeth grinding problem.
One of the easiest ways in identifying whether you are suffering from sleep bruxism is by asking your partner or another person to listen to you and observe you while you are sleeping. Teeth grinding can produce a loud grinding sound that can be easily heard.
Dental examination can also be done to help in identifying teeth grinding activity. Usually, people suffering from teeth grinding have obvious wear on their teeth due to the friction produced by the teeth grinding activity.