November marks National Sleep Comfort month, a month set aside to focus on your quality of sleep. A good night’s sleep not only helps you feel more awake, it’s vital to your long term health – sleep deprivation is tied to an increased rate of many long term health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and stroke. In addition, it’s important to remember that other aspects of sleep can impact your health – one notable example is bruxism, more commonly known as tooth grinding.
Bruxism can be a difficult problem to combat because it tends to happen while the patient is asleep. However, family members often hear the grinding of teeth, and in many cases, patients will notice worn, damaged teeth, or even experience sore teeth, jaws, or face, as their muscles work throughout the night. Left untreated, bruxism can lead to worn enamel (which contributes to rapid tooth decay), gum recession, cracked teeth, and significant pain.
Fortunately, bruxism can be treated – one of the most common treatments is a dental night guard. The night guard is a medical device – significantly more advanced than the average sport-based tooth guard you may find in a store, the night guard should be custom fitted to your mouth by a dentist. Properly sized, the night guard will be both more functional and more comfortable than one you may find in the store. In some cases, your dentist may recommend a guard that covers only some of your teeth, and in many cases, because it is prescribed by your dentist, your dental insurance may even cover the cost of the device.
For a patient suffering from bruxism, a properly fitted night guard will help increase sleep comfort both for the patient and the patient’s family – the patient will be able to sleep without the pain and discomfort of tooth grinding, and the family will be able to sleep without suffering through the sound of tooth-on-tooth grinding. For both the patient and their family, the proper treatment of bruxism will provide long-term health benefits, not only for the teeth but for the rest of the body as well.
If you believe you or a family member suffers from bruxism, use National Sleep Comfort month as a motivator to ask your family dentist about treatment options. There’s no better time to start treatment, and procrastinating can have a significant negative impact on your health.
Call Dr. Graham E. Farless DDS today for more information on oral health, 336-282-2868. Visit his practice online at www.gsodentist.com.