Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can have several possible causes, including stress, anxiety, medication side effects, parasites or misaligned teeth. Many people may not realize that another cause is oxygen deprivation during sleep.
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep, which can cause a decrease in oxygen levels in the blood. In response to this, the brain signals the body to clench the jaw or grind the teeth in an effort to open up the airways and improve breathing.
Many people that clench or grind their teeth at night, have no idea that they do it. Some people may experience jaw tenderness, a stiff neck or headaches related to it, but some do not experience any pain at all. Even in this case, not only is it an indication of oxygen deprivation, but it can also be very damaging to the teeth and jaw joints. This can lead to very expensive and time-consuming dental work.
If you suspect that your teeth grinding is related to sleep apnea or shallow breathing, it is important to investigate further. Putting a band aid on the problem or ignoring it won’t make it go away or get better. Myofunctional therapy can treat the muscles that collapse at night, train the tongue resting position to keep it out of the airway and improve breathing patterns as well.
If you are interested in learning more about how myofunctional therapy can improve your sleep or bruxism concerns, please set up a free consultation at www.myofunctionaltherapyofkansas.com