Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sleep apnea and bruxism

In a previous post I discussed sleeping with your mouth open. At one time I had a problem with grinding my teeth while I slept. This is called bruxism.

Approximately 8 percent of the population clench or grind their teeth every night. It can be caused by anxiety, stress, smoking or sleep apnea among other things. The consequences of this disorder can be dental problems, headaches, earaches and lack of sleep.

I wouldn’t have thought that folks with sleep apnea wouldn’t have bruxism since most sleep with their mouth open trying to grasp for air. But apparently it is true. According to the National library of Medicine and National Institute of Health bruxism rarely occurs alone and that many of those who have it also have sleep apnea.

The first thing that comes to mind as a cure would be a dental device which would prevent the teeth from clenching and grinding. But many feel that dental devices only help those with mild sleep apnea. Of course if you didn’t have sleep apnea, the dental device would probably do the trick.

So the logical cure would be the cpap machine or one of its variations. I suppose the continuous air would not only keep the airway open but also unclench the teeth.

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  1. Yes, I had very bad bruxism all the years my sleep apnea was undiagnosed. Many people will clinch their teeth when they are struggling hard to do something physical, for example, moving a grand piano. When you have obstructive sleep apnea, you struggle hard to breathe. You are flexing your stomach muscles, your diaphragm, and your chest muscles. Some people just instinctively clench their teeth at the same time.

    Once I became successful with CPAP therapy, my bruxism stopped.


  2. I have sleep apnea but refuse to where the cpap machine... I've tried four different masks... but it is uncomfortable, I've just given it up. I prefer to toss and turn and listen to the radio most nights. Sigh.

  3. Golfgurl,
    I know what you mean about the cpap mask feeling uncomfortable, but please don't give up.
    good luck, keep in touch

  4. If insomnia is wreaking havoc in your life and in spite of your consistent efforts you are unable to sleep at night, you should soon approach a doctor. After a thorough examination, your physician may prescribe sleep inducing medicines such as ambien or sonata. However these medicines should never be taken without a proper prescription from a doctor as they tend to yield side-effects which at times can be serious.

  5. I have been using a CPAP machine for over 10 years. After a few months the nasal mask seemed like it had become a part of me when I was sleeping. I probably couldn't sleep without it anymore, and for sure my husband couldn't with my loud snoring. Over the years, I have been supplied with several different styles of nose masks, but haven't been checked by a doctor since I first got my diagnosis and machine.
    Just today when getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist's office, I learned that 2 of my teeth are loose and will eventually need to be pulled. The dentist told me that wearing a CPAP nose mask could be the reason for this happening, since there is no other cause -- like injury or cavities or gum disease. I plan to try using the CPAPPro if I can get approval from my insurance company. Comments on this? Has anyone else had this problem?

  6. I hadn't ever heard about cpap machines having an effect on making teeth loose. I'll have to look into that.
    thanks for the comment