Bruxism is a habit that affects around 8-10% of the population which is characterised by grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw. It is the third most common sleep disorder behind insomnia and snoring. Bruxism can be frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth, loss of sleep for self and partner. Bruxism occurs in both children and adults, most commonly in 25-44 year olds. Proven treatments include occlusal splints, hypnotherapy and mandibular advancement devices.
This week is Bruxism Awareness Week when we discuss the severity of the disorder. Many people are not aware that bruxism is the third commonest sleep disorder and for those who suffer it can be a habit that seriously affects their life. Symptoms include headaches, jaw, ear and face pain. Other symptoms include chewed tissue on the inside of the cheek, indentations on the tongue, damaged teeth and tooth sensitivity. Bruxism does not always occur in isolation. Sleep studies have shown that those living with the disorder might also suffer from snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea – pauses in breathing during sleep.
The Bruxism Association recently conducted a survey focused on hypnotherapy as a treatment for bruxism. The shocking results showed that those who suffer may not fully understand the treatments that are available. A huge 91% of respondents did not know that hypnotherapy was a recognised and proven treatment but those who had tried it, found it to be effective.