Do you have bad habits? If you grind your teeth, you have at least one. A high number of people, between eight and 10 percent, have this habit. It is called bruxism and symptoms also include clenching the jaw. It can lead to worn and broken teeth, headache and jaw disorders that are painful and limit jaw movement. Periodontist Dr. Leo A. Tokarczyk can help you change this habit and get back on the path to good oral health.

What Is Bruxism?

There are two types of bruxism: One occurs while you are awake and the other while you are asleep. With awake bruxism, the sufferer experiences an involuntary clenching and bracing of the jaw. Usually, grinding is not an issue. Sleep bruxism is more of a rhythmic grinding of teeth accompanied by constant contraction of the jaw muscle.

What Causes It?

Studies show several causes of this habit. Awake bruxism can be a response to certain drugs such as anti-depressants. It may also be the result of medical or psychiatric conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, extreme anxiety and depression.

Sleep bruxism is a result of sleep disorders, with the biggest culprit being sleep apnea. It causes the sufferer to wake several times each night; each waking brings a variety of actions, such as teeth grinding, gasping or snoring.

Breaking the Habit

There is no cure for bruxism; that is why it is so important to change your waking habits or manage the effects of sleep bruxism. During a consultation, Dr. Tokarczyk may suggest limiting your caffeine or give you jaw exercises to ease stress. For those with sleep bruxism, a mouth guard may be appropriate. Once the habit or symptoms are under control, he can work on repairing any tooth damage.

If you have awake or sleep bruxism, see a periodontist for help. If you have any questions about bruxism and how it affects your oral health, contact our office and treat your bruxism in Springfield, MO today!