It is important to wear the right type of mouthguard for teeth grinding and TMJ pain.
If you are grinding your teeth at night in your sleep you are not alone! Millions of Americans suffer from TMJ pain and flattening of the teeth from grinding their teeth during sleep.
Teeth grinding is a clear sign that there is a lack of deep sleep because when we are in deep sleep our muscles become paralyzed. This paralysis allows the brain to complete the very important function of repairing the body during sleep. If your muscles are active then the brain’s repair work gets interrupted and so does your sleep. Ideally we would like the jaw muscles to be paralyzed so you wouldn’t need a mouthguard. The effects of teeth grinding are so harmful, however, that as long as you are grinding your teeth at night it is important to wear a mouthguard for teeth grinding and TMJ pain.
Do Vitamins Affect Teeth Grinding And Sleep?
Vitamin D is a sunshine hormone that is essential for good sleep. During our evolution when the summer drew to an end, the food supply got smaller and the days got shorter, the reduced sunshine and Vitamin D told our bodies to start preparing for hibernation which meant more sleep and less food. Vitamin D is important for many other body functions; Vitamin D receptors are found in most organs in our bodies.
Vitamin D also helps make Vitamin B5 that is necessary for muscles to be paralyzed during sleep. If you are grinding your teeth at night or moving around or talking or walking in your sleep it could mean you are deficient in Vitamins D and B. You can find out more by reading this blog post by sleep and Vitamin D expert Dr Gominak.
Dr. Dayan will explore these issues during her examination and find out through laboratory tests if you have these deficiencies. Remember that Vitamin D is a hormone that is made naturally through sun exposure so the amount that is in your blood is what is important, not the dose you might taking in pills.
Why Do We Grind Our Teeth During Sleep?
There are several theories about why we grind our teeth while we sleep. One theory is that it helps to relieve stress. Another theory is that the action of grinding brings the jaw forward which brings the tongue forward which opens up the airway. People who snore or who have sleep apnea grind their teeth at night to open up their blocked airways.
Why Is There So Much Damage To Teeth From Grinding During Sleep?
There is more damage at night than during the day because at night our salivary flow is reduced and the teeth become dry. Without the lubrication from saliva the teeth wear faster because there is more friction between dry teeth. This is why it is so important to wear a mouthguard for teeth grinding because you can never put back the tooth structure that is lost from grinding your teeth.
Are All Mouthguards For Teeth Grinding And TMJ Pain The Same?
No, there are many different designs for mouth guards. Dr. Dayan recommends a special guard that protects the teeth from wear but does not take up any tongue space. Most of us don’t have enough space for our tongues like our ancestors because of our modern lifestyles. Please click here to read more. A mouthguard that is bulky and takes up tongue space might feel uncomfortable. Dr. Dayan’s favorite appliance is also FDA-approved to treat TMJ pain. It goes on the lower teeth so it’s comfortable and postures the tongue against the roof of the mouth to promote nose breathing during sleep. It can therefore be used with mouth tape to ensure nose breathing. Nose breathing during sleep is essential for deep sleep. You can learn more about the healthy way to sleep breathe from Patrick McKeown the Buteyko breathing expert here .
If you or someone you know is suffering from TMJ pain, is having poor sleep or worn teeth call Dr Sharona Dayan at (310) 205-0900 to schedule an appintment or send an email by filling out the contact form on the bottom of this page. You can also book a Video Visit with Dr. Dayan by clicking here. Wearing the right mouthguard for TMJ pain and teeth grinding is an important part of feeling better and sleeping better.