A good night’s sleep is more of a rare achievement these days. Even if you’re not sleep-deprived, being in bed for 6 to 8 hours at night does not guarantee you wake up all rested and refreshed. Some people report they even open their eyes feeling more tired than before closing them.There can be various explanations to account for the lack of energy in the morning, and they are almost always linked to a specific sleep disorder. And teeth grinding, officially named bruxism, is just one of them.
To clench your teeth at night is a very common malfunction of the body. This movement is done involuntarily and with absolutely no purpose, much like fingernail biting or tongue thrusting. Only that bruxism seems to be a lifelong expressed behavior. Numbers held by the American Dental Association indicate that more than 70% of the population suffers from a form of it.
So, let’s investigate if you manifest this problem at all.
I Sleep Fine. Should I Worry about Teeth Grinding?
That’s the first question you could be asking yourself now. You might think that you’d know by now if you have been grinding your teeth. Your partner might have told you or the sound might have woke you up at night. Not necessarily. Unless your loved one has a rather light sleep, it’s almost impossible to tell what you’re doing at night.
So you can perfectly grind your teeth to pieces while you (and your partner) are submerged in the deepest sleep. In fact, the majority of bruxers don’t have a clue they’re doing it. It’s only when the side effects appear that they start to get a glimpse of it.
They say bruxism starts from early childhood and carries on into the later years. Most of the people affected by it wake up with jaw or neck pain in the morning, and this is how they realized they’ve been grinding their teeth. Any pain around the head – facial, below the ears, headache – can point to bruxism also after further investigation.
You now can see how this disorder does not necessarily affect your sleep at night but is sure detrimental to your usual state.
If I Don’t Have Any Symptoms, How Does It Affect My Health?
There is a category of people who grind their teeth at night but don’t seem to manifest any of the common consequences. They sleep like a rock and don’t have any aches or marks left by it. You’d say they’re extremely lucky.
But not presenting any signs pays its dues in the end: these are the people whose symptoms are so subtle and mild that they become oblivious. They don’t know what’s happening to them. Had they been paying attention to their teeth more, they would have noticed something unusual.
One of the most subtle effects of bruxism occurs when the front teeth become the same length and flat. This is the actual visual change that this disorder brings. Apart from feeling some enamel sensitivity – which you can mistake for the debut of tooth decay – examining your teeth carefully in the mirror can show if grinding has started to flatten your teeth. In which case, a dentist appointment to ask for solutions is much in need.
To conclude with, be mindful of the signs your body gives you, even when they’re discreet. To know you grind your teeth gives you the possibility to prevent it and to stop it.