Teeth Grinding/Clenching During Sleep

What Causes Bruxism?

To successfully treat and prevent recurrence of bruxism we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow bruxism to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind bruxism consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to bruxism.  Here are six possibilities:
  • Magnesium Need
  • Calcium Need
  • Stress
  • Asthma
  • Food Allergies
  • Hay Fever

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
frequent rotten egg burps
jumpiness
shortness of breath when at rest
low energy/stamina
coffee consumption
being in an imperfect relationship
highly elevated eosinophil count
severe afternoon/evening fatigue
sinusitis
frequent difficulty falling asleep
having asthma
short-term memory failure
... and more than 120 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of bruxism:
Cause Probability Status
Hay Fever 98% Confirm
Asthma 66% Possible
Food Allergies 27% Unlikely
Calcium Need 2% Ruled out
Stress 2% Ruled out
Magnesium Need 2% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Mouth/Oral Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about teeth grinding/clenching during sleep:
Do you suffer from clenching or grinding of teeth while you sleep (Bruxism)? If you sleep with a partner, it may be worth asking them.
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Mildly - it was mentioned but I feel/see no signs
→ Moderately - I grind my teeth but no damage yet
→ Seriously - some damage to teeth
→ Severely - extensive damage to teeth
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate mild teeth grinding, teeth grinding but no damage, teeth grinding with damage or severe teeth grinding, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Allergy to Foods (Hidden)

Hidden food allergies may contribute to the chronic clenching of teeth.

Calcium Requirement

Cheraskin & Ringsdorf (1970) studied the effects of nutritional supplements on teeth grinders or clenchers.  Of these, 16 took calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), iodine, and vitamin E.  When surveyed a year later, they reported that bruxism vanished.  In contrast, the 15 bruxers who only took vitamins A, C, E and iodine showed no improvement.  It seemed reasonable to conclude that the active agents were calcium and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).

Magnesium Requirement

According to Ploceniak, prolonged magnesium administration nearly always provides a cure for bruxism.  This confirms an earlier report which claimed remarkable reductions and sometimes disappearance in the frequency and duration of grinding episodes in six patients who took assorted vitamins and minerals (which included 100mg of magnesium) for at least five weeks.  When the supplement intake stopped, the symptoms returned.  [Bruxism and Magnesium, My Clinical Experiences Since 1980, by C.  Ploceniak (Translated from the French by James Michels)]

Stress

Teeth-grinding is often stress-related.

Asthma

Allergy may play a role in bruxism.  It is noticed that bruxism is more frequent in those experiencing periods of allergic rhinitis or asthma.

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