Why Teeth Grinding is Linked to Sleep Disorders

When you think about snoring and teeth grinding, you probably never put them together. The truth is, they could both be related to the same issue: sleep apnea.

But why would sleep apnea cause teeth grinding? Especially if your body is trying to get more air into your lungs?

Although it sounds counterintuitive, your body’s initial reaction to a lack of oxygen is to tighten the jaws and teeth together. Yes, you need to inhale air, but the mouth, teeth, and soft tissues are contracting at your upper airway.

As a result, people with sleep apnea also experience bruxism (aka grinding and clenching.)

Sleep Apnea Damage to Your Teeth

Even though your enamel is durable, it’s not invincible. All of that wear night after night will start to take a toll. Over time, bruxism can lead to flattened, worn, or broken teeth and dental work. You may not even realize that you have a sleeping disorder! But when a dentist mentions your flat teeth and asks if you wake up in the morning with a headache or sore jaw, you finally put the pieces together.

If you’re starting to see your teeth wear down, it could be something other than age. It might be worth getting screened for sleep disordered breathing. Even if you’re not suffering from snoring, the everyday fatigue, high blood pressure, larger neck circumference, or weight gain are other things to be looking out for.

Treating your teeth grinding and sleep apnea is as easy as calling our office. At Marietta Sleep, we offer customized oral sleep appliances as well as home sleep study services. Contact us today for more information or to get screened.