Bruxism – paroxysmal contractions of the masticatory muscles that periodically occur in a dream, accompanied by clenching of the jaws and grinding of teeth. Bruxism is observed, according to research, in 1-3% of the population, both adults and children. 

The clinical picture of the disease is a sudden grinding of teeth that lasts for a few seconds or minutes. During sleep, such attacks are repeated many times and may be accompanied by respiratory failure, changes in blood pressure, heart rate.


  • morning headaches;
  • jaw pain;
  • pain in the temporomandibular joints;
  • ringing or pain in your ears;
  • sinus pain;
  • pain in the neck, shoulders, back;
  • high sensitivity or eye irritation;
  • vestibular dizziness or tingling sensation in the head;
  • stress, depression;
  • eating disorder;
  • poor sleep, insomnia;
  • daytime sleepiness.

The reasons.

The causes of bruxism are not fully understood. According to most researchers, bruxism often occurs in people experiencing stressful loads, psychological disorders that entail internal anxiety, anger, tension, anxiety before going to bed. In addition, sleep disturbances such as somnambulism, enuresis, nightmares, snoring and periods of respiratory arrest during sleep can also cause bruxism.

Usually, the diagnosis is made on the basis of the history. In addition to grinding teeth, the patient may complain of muscle and joint pain in the mandible. The diagnosis can be confirmed by a polysomnographic study, in which the contraction of the masticatory muscles is recorded. Also, polysomnography is important to exclude epilepsy as a causative factor in bruxism.

Types of bruxism.

There are two forms of bruxism: daytime and nighttime.

Daytime bruxism manifests itself during waking hours. A person strongly (up to a dental scythe ) clenches his teeth in moments of emotional stress. 

Night bruxism manifests itself in clenching the teeth and grinding or tapping them during sleep, when a person cannot control himself. In this case, several attacks can occur during the night. Nocturnal bruxism occurs much more often than daytime. 


The treatment of bruxism remains a difficult problem to this day. It depends largely on the time of development, the causes and nature of the course of the disease. Its treatment will be the more successful, the earlier the disease is diagnosed. You should not feel anxiety in case of short-term (up to 10 seconds) irregular teeth grinding attacks. Most likely this is not bruxism, but momentary reactions to stressful situations of a healthy person. The alarm should be beaten when such attacks become regular.

It is almost pointless to fight bruxism on your own. As soon as you suspect you have this disease, contact a specialist somnologist. He will give you professional advice and prescribe competent treatment. At the same time, it is important to know that bruxism in children sometimes does not require special treatment, but can eventually go away on its own by 6-7 years. Bruxism in adults, however, must be treated.

If bruxism persists in an adult, then:

  • If possible, it is necessary to eliminate all existing dental problems or defects of the bite.
  • During sleep, wear a special intraoral protective device (mouthguard) made of rubber or soft plastic, which is made according to the shape and size of your teeth, is fixed between the teeth and prevents injury. While this device can help with bruxism, it does not cure it.
  • As an additional treatment, you can use preparations of magnesium, calcium and vitamins of group B. Saturation of the body with these microelements and vitamins can reduce the convulsive activity of the masticatory muscles during sleep.
  • You can also apply a warm, damp towel to your cheeks, this will help you relax the muscles that are tired of clenching your teeth.
  • Learn to relax. – Since the main cause of bruxism is everyday stress, any way to relieve stress can help you – listening to music, reading books, walking or bathing. You may need to go to a counseling session to learn how to deal effectively with stressful situations.  
  • The best is psychotherapy, which focuses on identifying conflicts, understanding them and developing the ability to cope more effectively with the daily difficulties of life.

Prevention of bruxism in children.

  • Rest your jaws . Unless your child is chewing, swallowing, or talking, the upper and lower teeth should not be touching. If the teeth touch, they clench, which is just one step to grinding. Explain this to your child and ask him to try to keep the teeth slightly apart when the jaw is relaxed.
  • Encourage exercise . Regular exercise can help your child relieve stress and muscle tension, which can cause teeth grinding at night in prone people.
  • Quiet activities before bedtime . The child should not take part in the struggle, active and violent games before going to bed. Tense muscles take time to relax before the baby falls asleep. Make sure that the child is calm for an hour before going to bed. At this time, you can read a book or give him the opportunity to read himself or view a book with pictures.
  • Try to put your baby to bed early . Your child may be overworked, which could push him to gnash his teeth while sleeping. In this case, going to bed earlier can help.
  • Avoid eating before bed . If the digestive juices are working on the night shift, this can lead to unnecessary stress for the baby during sleep. Do not give your child anything other than water to eat or drink an hour before bedtime.
  • Talk to your child about their problems . If your child is worried about a difficult assignment or an upcoming school play premiere, this may be the reason that makes him grind his teeth at night. If something is bothering your child, do not let him go to bed with this worry in his head. Talk to him before bed so that all worries leave him, this often helps to relieve tension. Make a five or ten minute conversation with you a daily calming routine before the baby falls asleep.
  • Apply warm, moist compresses . If your child’s jaw hurts in the morning, soak a washcloth in warm water, wring it out, and place it on the sore jaw until the child feels better. This will help soothe the pain.


If bruxism has been observed for a rather long time and cannot be treated in any way, then it can cause the development of other serious diseases, such as:

  • loosening of the teeth, fractures of the teeth;
  • pathological increased abrasion of tooth enamel and tooth tissue, dentin abrasion;
  • caries;
  • inflammation of periodontal tissues;
  • malocclusion;
  • increased sensitivity of tooth enamel;
  • headache;
  • pathology of the joints of the temporomandibular region;
  • spasms and pain of the muscles of the face.

A person suffering from gnashing of teeth can push many people away from himself, which gives rise to a complex of psychological problems and a feeling of internal discomfort. All this indicates that people who grind their teeth in their sleep need medical attention.

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