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Why Do I Grind My Teeth?

Until very recently the reason so many people grind their teeth had been a mystery to doctors and dentists. While it used to be commonly thought that tooth grinding, or bruxism, is caused by a reaction to stress, this has been disproven. Recently it has been discovered that, interestingly enough, even fetuses can be seen grinding teeth in utero. If you’ve ever found yourself asking, “Why do I grind my teeth?’ It turns out that this is actually an instinctive survival response, exhibited by those suffering from sleep apnea.

why do i grind my teeth

Have you ever wondered “Why do i grind my teeth?”

Why Do I Grind My Teeth?

During the night, the brain cycles through different stages of sleep. As the brain approaches deep sleep, every muscle in the body fully relaxes. When the jaw follows suit, this can obstruct the airway as the jaw is relatively heavy and can block the tongue and airway. Tooth grinding or bruxism is actually an instinctual response, which reopens the blocked airway and allows you to get air in. When people who suffered from bruxism were given a device to keep their airway unobstructed all night, such as a CPAP machine, their tooth grinding and sleep apnea stopped at the same time.

The Long Term Consequences of Tooth Grinding

If you grind your teeth, you are not truly getting the kind of sleep you need to be healthy. Even with light sleep apnea, you are waking up in a damaged and unrefreshed state day after day after day. You are missing out on all of the health benefits of high-quality sleep and this adds up over time. These important benefits include the release of the human growth hormone (HGH) which contributes to anti-aging, tightening skin, burning fat, improving memory, building muscle, and warding off diseases like Alzheimer’s long term. Untreated sleep apnea long term can seriously shorten your life and lead to a number of ill health effects. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, anxiety, weight gain, stroke, and automobile accidents. Years of tooth grinding can also do significant damage to your teeth and jaw. Repeated clenching and grinding can lead to permanent jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, and damage to the jaw joint.

Get In Touch With Olney Dental Today

Interested in learning more about how cosmetic dentistry can make your smile happier? Call Olney Dental at (301) 250-1057 or contact us online for an appointment. And don’t forget to visit Facebook, Twitter, Google+,Pinterest, and YouTube to connect with us on social media.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2016 at . Both comments and pings are currently closed.