Holiday Vices May Lead to Bruxism

Dentistry Today


The holidays are coming. And the bad habits that accompany many celebrations may lead to bruxism that could damage teeth, according to a team of researchers from Brazil and Canada. They conducted a systematic review of 7 studies ranging from 51 to more than 10,000 subjects between the ages of 18 and 55 years.

According to the data, smoking tobacco can more than double to odds of bruxism. Drinking alcohol nearly doubles the odds. And, drinking more than 76 mg of caffeine increases the odds of bruxism by one and a half. Bruxism also has been linked to stress and sleep disorders, which affect many people during the holidays as well, in addition to abnormal bite.

Bruxism most often occurs during the early stages of sleep before deep sleep, according to the American Sleep Association (ASA), which notes that it affects 10% of all people. Symptoms include dull headaches, jaw soreness, and muscle pain. Bruxism also may produce painful, loose, or fractured teeth.

The ASA adds that bruxism has no cure, though avoiding caffeine and nicotine before sleeping may help. The ASA also recommends the use of oral devices like mouthguards, changing sleeping positions, and using relaxation techniques such as practicing yoga, listening to gentle music, taking a hot bath, or drinking green tea to ameliorate bruxism’s effects.

“Dentists and patients alike should be aware of the potential health effects from overuse of tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine,” said Michael Glick, DMD, editor of JADA, which published the study, “Association Between Sleep Bruxism and Alcohol, Caffeine, Tobacco, and Drug Abuse.”

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