Updated at: 24-02-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Frequently do you wake up with sore jaw muscles that you don’t know what to do about? During the night, you may be grinding or clenching your teeth. Despite the fact that you may become more fatigued throughout the day, you may not be aware of this since you are asleep.

The teeth may rub against one other if the jaw or teeth are misaligned. There is some evidence that tooth grinding might cause obstructive sleep apnea. OSA is a sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing patterns are disrupted by periodic shutdowns of the respiratory system, causing them to wake up frequently during night. People with sleep apnea are more likely than not to experience bruxism, which is the teeth grinding that goes hand in hand with it, according to research from the National Sleep Foundation.

The link between teeth grinding at night and sleep apnea is obvious. So how can you get a good night’s sleep in the face of these challenges?

The Link Between Grinding and Sleep Apnea

It is hypothesized that the body responds to airway obstructions by sending stress signals. Jaw muscles tense up as a result of these stress chemicals traveling through the bloodstream Muscle contraction causes tooth friction in the upper and lower jaws.

link-between-sleep-apnea-and-teeth-grinding.jpg

Snoring, sleep apnea, and partial airway obstruction (hypopnea) can all contribute to bruxism. Because of this, the brain instructs the jaw muscles to compress the soft tissues in the throat, allowing free passage of air.

How is Grinding Diagnosed and Treated?

Dentists can identify changes in dental health that indicate bruxism even if you aren’t aware of it yourself. Your dentist may detect that the surfaces of your teeth have been corroded or even cracked during an inspection. When it comes to dental issues, you may not be afflicted by an injury or trauma. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to periodontal tissue damage, headaches, and long-term pain in the jaw joint and muscles.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for bruxism. A custom-made oral gadget can prevent your teeth from further damage while you sleep if you grind your teeth but do not suffer from sleep apnea.

With OSA and bruxism in the same person, you may be eligible for a continuous positive airway pressure mask (CPAP). In order to keep your airways open throughout the night, you use a CPAP machine to deliver pressure to the mask. Using a CPAP machine not only cures sleep apnea, but it also drastically reduces bruxism. For those who don’t want to deal with the cumbersome CPAP machine but still need to keep their airways open, a jaw positioning device can be used.

Do You Grind Your Teeth?

These medical disorders can cause daytime exhaustion, trouble concentrating, an increase in coffee use and an increased risk of developing anxiety. Hypertension and other systemic disorders are also known to be linked to apnea. If your dentist suspects that you have bruxism and sleep apnea, he or she may suggest that you see your primary care physician to have the problem checked out further. OSA can be diagnosed with an at-home sleep apnea test or an overnight sleep study at the clinic.

Professionals at Espire Dental are trained to treat a wide range of dental conditions. In order to ensure that you have a beautiful, healthy smile, we aim to provide you with the best available dental care. To schedule an appointment, please contact us immediately.

Here’s what you need to know about the connection between sleep apnea and teeth grinding at night, and how to stop it.

Frequently do you wake up with sore jaw muscles that you don’t know what to do about? Bruxism, or nighttime teeth-grinding, is a common cause of snoring. You may not even notice that you’re getting increasingly weary over the day.

The teeth may rub against one other if the jaw or teeth are misaligned. In addition, bruxism has been associated to OSA as well. OSA is a sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing patterns are disrupted by periodic shutdowns of the respiratory system, causing them to wake up frequently during night. About one-fourth of those with sleep apnea have bruxism, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

The link between teeth grinding at night and sleep apnea is obvious. So how can you get a good night’s sleep in the face of these challenges?

The Link Between Bruxism and Sleep Apnea

When our airways are obstructed, our bodies respond by sending out stress signals. Jaw muscles tense up as a result of these stress chemicals traveling through the bloodstream Muscle contraction causes tooth friction in the upper and lower jaws.

Snoring, sleep apnea, and partial airway obstruction (hypopnea) can all contribute to bruxism. Because of this, the brain instructs the jaw muscles to compress the soft tissues in the throat, allowing free passage of air.

How is Bruxism Diagnosed and Treated?

Dentists can identify changes in dental health that indicate bruxism even if you aren’t aware of it yourself. Your dentist may detect that the surfaces of your teeth have been corroded or even cracked during an inspection. When it comes to dental issues, you may not be afflicted by an injury or trauma. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to periodontal tissue damage, headaches, and long-term pain in the jaw joint and muscles.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for bruxism. A custom-made oral gadget can prevent your teeth from further damage while you sleep if you grind your teeth but do not suffer from sleep apnea.

With OSA and bruxism in the same person, you may be eligible for a continuous positive airway pressure mask (CPAP). In order to keep your airways open throughout the night, you use a CPAP machine to deliver pressure to the mask. Using a CPAP machine not only cures sleep apnea, but it also drastically reduces bruxism.

link-between-sleep-apnea-and-teeth-grinding-1.jpg

Do You Have Bruxism?

There are major medical disorders that might include daytime fatigue, difficulties concentrating, increased caffeine intake, and anxiety. If your dentist suspects that you have bruxism and sleep apnea, he or she may suggest that you see your primary care physician to have the problem checked out further. OSA can be diagnosed with an at-home sleep apnea test or an overnight sleep study at the clinic.

Bruxism is one of several dental problems that the dentists at Levin Family Dental treat. In order to ensure that you have a beautiful, healthy smile, we aim to provide you with the best available dental care. To schedule an appointment, please contact us immediately.

Is There a Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Teeth Grinding?

More people than predicted suffer from both OSA and bruxism when they sleep, according to a variety of studies.

In investigations of patient records and databases, epidemiologists found that many OSA sufferers also tended to grind their teeth. Many studies have identified an association between teeth grinding and snoring, even though not all of them have found the same exact percentages of co-occurrence.

Studies using polysomnography, a sort of in-depth sleep research carried out in a specialized clinic, also found the similar correlation11. Polysomnography is more reliable than studies relying on self-reported sleep apnea or teeth grinding since it requires close observation of a sleeper.

Possible Explanations for a Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Sleep-Related Bruxism

While studies have demonstrated a link between sleep apnea and bruxism, the underlying mechanism of this connection is still unclear.

Several suggestions have been put out by sleep researchers as to how these diseases are linked. According to these theories, sleep bruxism triggers OSA and vice versa, they occur independently, and there is a complicated and multidimensional interaction between the two.

In the sections that follow, we’ll take a closer look at each of these theories, but it’s crucial to remember that research hasn’t been able to prove conclusively12 that teeth grinding causes sleep apnea or vice versa.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea as a Risk Factor for Sleep-Related Bruxism

One theory is that sleep apnea may cause tooth grinding episodes. As a result of OSA’s pauses in breathing, teeth grinding is thought to develop as a response.

It has been suggested that when the airway is obstructed due to OSA, teeth grinding may help to reopen it, resulting to the development of dental wear. If the clenching and grinding helps to lubricate the dry tissue in your neck caused by sleep apnea, that’s another possibility.

Sleep-related bruxism, according to this theory, is a defense mechanism the body employs to ward off the damaging effects of OSA. Some persons with OSA may feel teeth grinding during disrupted breathing episodes during sleep, even though this notion may not apply to all people with OSA (14).

Sleep Bruxism as a Risk Factor for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep bruxism, on the other hand, may be a role in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Signals from the neurological system that control heart rate, jaw muscles and the nasal passages may be responsible for this. It’s possible that the same signals that set off teeth grinding also worsen congestion and narrow the airways, resulting in breathing problems15.

Sleep investigations of persons with both OSA and teeth grinding indicated that only approximately 25% of the time do teeth grinding episodes precede OSA-related respiratory events.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Sleep Bruxism Occur Independently

If OSA and sleep bruxism are linked in some way, but not causally, this could be another explanation. Rather, each of these issues arises on its own, but they could be linked to a different root cause.

OSA and teeth grinding episodes do not follow a predictable pattern, which supports this notion. In a strong causal relationship, you’d expect to see one type of episode follow the other.

However, research to date have failed to uncover such a distinct pattern. It’s more likely for teeth grinding to start just after breathing problems, but it can start before that as well. People may grind their teeth or have disordered breathing at various times during the night without the other issue being present.

OSA and sleep-related bruxism are more likely to co-occur if a different mechanism is at play, given the discrepancy between the two. Dopamine and serotonin, substances in the brain system that are known as neurotransmitters, have been implicated as a possible underlying mechanism17.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Sleep Bruxism Have a Multifaceted Relationship

The association between sleep apnea and teeth grinding is a multidimensional and complex one, according to some experts, which manifests itself differently in various individuals18.

As an illness affecting the neurological, circulatory, and respiratory systems, OSA can be difficult to diagnose and treat. An individual’s body weight, head-and-neck anatomy and sleeping position are all elements that can contribute to a person’s snoring. The same is true for sleep bruxism, which can be caused by a variety of reasons.

A direct causal relationship between the two may not be possible in many circumstances, given the intricacy of these conditions. Some patients may reflect aspects of each hypothesis more than others, which could explain why research results have been so inconsistent and ambiguous thus far.

link-between-sleep-apnea-and-teeth-grinding-2.jpg

What is the Significance of the Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Sleep Bruxism?

It’s difficult to say whether the link between sleep apnea and bruxism is clinically significant until more research reveals the exact nature of the connection.

OSA and sleep bruxism can occur concurrently, thus those who suffer from OSA or bruxism should be aware of this possibility. In this way, they can keep an eye out for symptoms and alert their doctor, who can evaluate whether additional testing or treatment is needed.

Both conditions may have a role in optimizing treatment if they are present. Both disorders were successfully treated using a positive airway pressure (PAP) device in a case study, for example. The use of mandibular advancement devices (MADs), which hold the tongue and lower jaw forward, may also assist treat OSA and lessen teeth grinding20.

What to Do If You Suspect Teeth Grinding

You can find out if you’re a night grinner by making an appointment with your dentist. If this is confirmed, a sleep study may be required to determine whether or not your grinding is being caused by respiratory problems.

What do you think?

Rate this post