Sleep Apnea Connected to Bruxism, Says Study

from About.com Dental Care

Researchers from the American College of Chest Physicians have found that nocturnal teeth grinding (bruxism), is prevalent among the estimated 18 million Americans that suffer from sleep apnea; a common sleep disorder.

Shyam Subramanian, MD, FCCP, from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX notes the connection between the two disorders, saying "The relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and sleep bruxism is usually related to an arousal response. The ending of an apneic event may be accompanied by a number of mouth phenomena, such as snoring, gasps, mumbles, and teeth grinding," adding "Men typically have more severe sleep apnea, and perhaps may have more arousal responses, which may explain the higher prevalence of teeth grinding in men. Besides, men characteristically tend to report more symptoms of sleep apnea than women, such as snoring, loud grunting, and witnessed apneas."

The link between sleep apnea and bruxism is related to many factors, such as high levels of anxiety and the use of caffeine. According to Dr. Subramanian "High levels of anxiety can lead to bruxism, and untreated sleep apnea is known to cause mood disturbances including depression and anxiety," adding "Daytime sleepiness from sleep apnea may cause a person to ingest caffeine, and this has also been associated with a high risk of bruxism."

Your best defense against both sleep apnea and bruxism is communicating with both your dentist and your doctor. Diagnosing sleep apnea involves participating in a sleep study. Diagnosing bruxism involves a complete examination from your dentist that looks at the wear patterns on your teeth by obtaining dental impressions that are used to fabricate diagnostic study models, and radiographs such as a cephalometric and/or panorex for the dentist to study.

If the symptoms of sleep apnea or the symptoms of bruxism sound familiar to you; contact both your dentist and your doctor. Early diagnosis is always highly regarded as being a part of a successful treatment plan.

Sleep Apnea Connected to Bruxism, Says Study originally appeared on About.com Dental Care on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 at 00:20:51.