This is How Sleep Apnea and Grinding Your Teeth Are Connected
Sleep Apnea: A Personal Story
My name is Amanda and I have sleep apnea. During a recent sleep apnea study, I found out I suffer from another condition: bruxism or grinding of my teeth. For those of you who don’t know, bruxism is the result of parafunctional activities that primarily occur during our sleep. As a result, most of us (including myself) tend to be surprised when we hear this diagnosis since we probably never realized it was happening in the first place.
The effects of bruxism on teeth can translate into signs you shouldn’t ignore, such as excessive tooth wear, high sensitivity to cold, headaches, neck and back soreness, tired jaw, and locking jaw for some more severe cases. Bruxism can also be responsible for teeth misalignment, loss of tooth enamel and tooth decay.
As I said, my sleep study helped me realize the connection that exists between my grinding and my sleeping patterns. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one. In fact, one in four people that have sleep apnea grind their teeth at night, and men are more likely to be affected.
What I Learned From My Own Sleep Study
Every time my airways were obstructed, my body’s natural defense mechanism kicked in and I started grinding my teeth. No matter what position I was sleeping in: left side, right side, back, I was grinding my teeth to help open my airway. This was causing me to gasp a little and go back to breathing normally. It made me move around each time it happened, resulting in what I called a very scattered night sleep.
Now, it is important to note that not all bruxers (people affected by bruxism) have sleep apnea and not all sleep apnea patients grind their teeth.
What Are the Risks of Leaving Sleep Apnea Undiagnosed or Untreated?
I want to encourage everyone to take a night study and rule out any potential risks of being undiagnosed, because sleep apnea can be a deadly disease. Sleep apnea is rarely a direct cause of death, but it can lead to a wide range of other potentially fatal health problems. In fact, the death of Star Wars’s star Carrie Fisher was associated to sleep apnea.
The bottom line is that this simple night study can end up helping not only your teeth but your overall health. Nowadays, many dentists are able to diagnose this sleep condition at a fraction of the cost of sleep study centers. So if you snore at night, suffer from sleep deprivation or feel that you grind your teeth during your sleep, you should probably get that sleep study going.
If you want to learn more about the link between sleep apnea and bruxism, or think you need a sleep apnea study, feel free to email or call Rohrer Dental Wellness Center at