What causes Bruxism (grinding teeth)?
Most times people are not aware that they grind their teeth. The reason most don’t know is because it usually is happening while asleep. Studies have shown that the grinding occurs when the airway is restricted. Many sleep studies have shown when oxygen levels are getting low the body starts to go into “fight or flight”. Since we need to breath to live the teeth then start to grind against each other trying to tell the body to move the lower jaw forward. Once the lower jaw opens the airway allows more oxygen to the brain.
Why do we talk about the airway in dentistry?
We are finding more and more people with TMJ problems. When we are examining our patients we have found that most of them also have sleep apnea. Which means they are having restricted airways. We tend to see a lot of these patients mouth breathing and having poor posture. Mouth breathing causes forward head posture. When the head moves forward the chest is compressed and you are hunched over. Our bodies are designed to breath through the nose which keeps us healthy in so many ways.
How does this cause TMJ issues?
If the tongue is not in the roof of the mouth and breathing through the nose then the mid face will not grow properly. The upper jaw grows narrow and the lower jaw is unable to grow forward which leads to TMJ issues.