Tooth Grinding and Sleep Problems
Do you wake up in the morning with headaches and jaw pain? Are you tired all day, even though you don’t recall having trouble sleeping? You may have both sleep apnea and sleep-related tooth grinding (bruxism) – and one may be contributing to the other.
What is OSA?
OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) causes interference while sleeping. It is caused by a natural obstruction in the airway – the soft tissues in the throat relax and block the air from getting through. And, because the brain is trying to get oxygen, it responds by waking the patient up several times during the night. In response to this, the patient may snore and make gasping or choking noises as they sleep, and the next day they may feel sleep deprived. Over time, OSA can lead to serious problems, such as high blood pressure.
What is bruxism?
Everyone grinds their teeth in their sleep from time to time. However, if you do it every night it can lead to problems. People with bruxism can start having pain in the ears, headaches, and jaw and neck pain, eventually developing TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). Teeth become damaged, with chips or fractures, and the enamel on the teeth can start to wear away. If bruxism is left untreated, teeth can become painfully sensitive and even start to loosen.
How are OSA and bruxism related?
These are two problems that can not only interfere with sleep but can lead to more health problems down the road. Another thing they have in common is that some people may not realize that they have these problems or that treating one of them may help treat the other.
Researchers have discovered that many people with bruxism also have OSA. They are not sure what comes first – the bruxism or the OSA. However, it is important to be aware that if you are treated for one the other could be relieved as well.
If you feel tired all day or have other symptoms of sleep apnea, there is relief available. Call Sleep & Neuroscience Associates in Greenwich, CT, for a consultation for your sleep issues. Call 203-245-0412 today!