Bruxism: Causes, Symptoms, Sleep Apnea, Complication and Treatment

Most of the teeth are milled during the night while people are sleeping. Therefore, it is relatively easy to attribute the symptoms of teeth grinding to other problems.

Often, those who grind their teeth do not even realize it. It is a medical phenomenon little investigated. That’s why the accurate term probably seems strange to you. Bruxism is the technical term for grinding or clenching teeth during sleep.

Uncommon Bruxism is not so severe. But when it happens regularly, it can lead to various other problems. Millions of people worldwide are affected by Bruxism and do not know it.

It is a subtle occurrence that many are entirely in the dark. The medical community has had trouble finding an underlying cause for some time. Recently, new information has come to light that contradicts previous conclusions.

When investigating tooth grinding, you may have found a lot of information citing stress as the leading cause. However, new evidence suggests that stress is not necessarily to blame.

That is unless you suffer from daytime Bruxism.

Daytime bruxism

Woman with a toothache. Although it is considered a separate disorder, daytime Bruxism is a similar condition.


They seem to operate differently. While tooth grinding is much more common in nocturnal Bruxism, squeezing teeth is more common for those who suffer during the day. Daytime Bruxism is also reported more frequently, although it may be less familiar (it is easier to detect).

There is not necessarily a correlation between the two; One’s suffering does not seem to increase the other’s possibilities of suffering.

Daytime Bruxism has been associated with high stress. If you squeeze or grind your teeth during the day, you probably notice it. That is not necessarily the case for those who suffer at night.

How to know if you grind your teeth at night

The symptoms of Bruxism are not always obvious. First, your body is designed to adapt. Your brain is designed to stop reminding you of discomfort if it is continuous. Therefore, it is easy to acclimate to the symptoms and not realize them.

Second, some of the most common symptoms may be caused by other factors.

Symptoms of teeth grinding.

Many suffer from Bruxism during sleep and do not know it until complications arise. Understanding the symptoms is the first step in recognizing them.

The list is more diverse than you can imagine:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Grind or squeeze audibly.
  • Loose tooth.
  • Damaged teeth
  • Loss of teeth
  • Greater sensitivity
  • Periodic swelling
  • Inflammation of the gums.
  • The recession of the gums.
  • Pain in the jaw or face.
  • Stress in the jaw
  • Trism.
  • Blocking of the salivary gland.
  • Neck Pain.
  • Shoulder pain.
  • Earache.
  • Ears that sound.
  • Hearing loss.

You will notice that there is a range of effects. Different areas are affected, with different sensitivities.

All that is what makes it challenging to diagnose. It has probably also contributed to why it has been difficult for scientists to identify an actual cause.

Traditionally accepted causes of Bruxism.

The medical community was holding straws with this for a long time.

Stress and anxiety are traditionally the most common causes attributed to Bruxism. However, many reasons have been considered over time, including poor bites and infectious diseases. Until recently, it wasn’t easy to establish meaningful correlations.

Bruxism during the day may indicate a link between tooth bruxism and stress, but the studies are ultimately inconclusive. Genetic predisposition can also play a role.

The only thing science is sure of is that the nervous system causes it. Bruxism has been associated with depression, hostility, and sensitivity to stress. It has even been connected to anxiety in children.

Still, there is probably another underlying cause (which may also be contributing to your stress levels).

The most likely reason why you grind your teeth

Studies suggest that Bruxism may be an evolutionary response to prevent it from suffocating at night.

The medical community has correlated sleep apnea and Bruxism for a long time, considering sleep apnea as a possible cause.

That’s not right because squeezing and gritting your teeth can help some people keep their air passages open at night. In this way, clogged airways are the leading cause of teeth grinding at night and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in some people.

We have already discussed the problems associated with grinding teeth. But the issues surrounding sleep apnea are much more severe.

Dangers of sleep apnea

Like Bruxism, cases of sleep apnea may vary in severity.

Even if yours is more prominent, it’s something you want a doctor to review. You should probably look for a sleep study to evaluate the associated risks, which will help you understand how sleep apnea and its effects are pretty severe.

Some of these risks include:

  • Mental fatigue.
  • Headaches or migraines .
  • Mental health problems
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Metabolic syndrome.
  • Weight gain.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Acid reflux
  • Liver problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease.


With medication and surgery, people with OSA are up to five times more likely than those who usually sleep to have traffic accidents. Therefore, if teeth grinding is a possible indicator of sleep apnea, why not take measures to analyze it?


Stop grinding your teeth when sleeping can be a subject that the patient you are examining can help with tips only so that, in this way, mild Bruxism does not require treatment. However, you must take action if Bruxism is frequent and severe.

Your teeth are literally at stake. The effects of grinding and squeezing are cumulative. And if they are related to AOS, there is even more at stake. Keep in mind that lifestyle choices can contribute to the severity of your Bruxism.

Smoking, caffeine, and alcohol are considered cofactors of Bruxism. Reducing them can help reduce your Bruxism. If that is not enough (as it probably is not), you will have to consider the treatment options. Mouthguards are the most durable solution to treat Bruxism.

Mouthguards for teeth grinding, although some of the latest The science suggests that mouthguards can worsen OSA, can protect your teeth from rubbing and squeezing.

For nocturnal Bruxism, we only recommend looking for oral protection after a professional has done a sleep study and discarded AOS. If your problem is daytime Bruxism, mouth guards are your only option.

The continuous positive respiratory pressure therapy (TPRPC) machine means constant positive pressure in the airways. That’s precisely what you need if you have teeth related to AOS. A machine (TPRPC) is a small unit of air circulation.

You put a mask or nasal piece on your face. This piece is connected to the machine through a hose. The constant circulation of air helps regulate breathing and combat air obstruction.

Continuous positive airway pressure machines are the industry standard for treating sleep apnea. Your dentist can even make an oral device that can be used with the machine. This oral device may be sufficient to stop OSA and Bruxism alone in some cases.

Whether stress or other factors contribute to tooth grinding or not, the medical community finally realizes how to diagnose and treat this problem correctly.

However, teeth grinding and AOS are challenging to detect on your own. It may not seem so serious. But you must see a dental professional if you think you might be suffering from Bruxism or AOS. The side effects of letting the problem continue may harm more than your dental health.