Bruxism means clenching or grinding your teeth, most commonly at night and when you are sleeping. It is also referred to as sleep bruxism, or nocturnal tooth grinding.
The term clenching refers to when you clamp your top and bottom teeth together tightly, especially your back teeth. The stressful force of clenching your teeth causes pressure on the muscles, tissues, and other structures around your jaw. This can lead to jaw joint disorders, jaw pain, soreness, headaches, earaches, damaged teeth and much more, which can be referred to as temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction.
While the cause of bruxism is not certain, there are links found that associate it to stress, fatigue, smoking, the consumption of alcohol, intake of caffeine, and so on.
Occlusal splints need to be worn to prevent any damage to your teeth resulting from clenching and/or grinding in your sleep. These are also referred to as a mouthguard, nightguard, or nocturnal bite plate.
You may need a referral to a specialist or a medical GP for treating stress or anxiety as this is a common cause of bruxing.
If you are experiencing teeth grinding and clenching at night, avoid caffeine before bed, as well as alcohol, as these can exacerbate bruxism.
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