Grinding Your Teeth (Part 3)

Sleep Cycle

Continuing with our 2 previous articles on teeth grinding (Bruxism). Let’s talk about the sleep cycle.

Many times over the years I have had patients tell me that they do not grind their teeth at night. Here are the facts – only 10% of people have any awareness of grinding in their sleep and only 20% make an audible sound.

Humans sleep in 90 minute cycles – going from shallow to deep to shallow sleep. Bruxism usually occurs in that part of the sleep cycle going from deep to shallow sleep. The episodes are brief – a few seconds to 3 to 4 minutes. It is brief but the forces are 900 – 1000 PSI! The human masticatory system is not engineered to withstand these forces.

There are ongoing studies by experts in this field exploring links to sleep disorders, sleep apnea, depression and other factors.

In the final installment of this subject I will discuss what the dental profession can do about bruxism.

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