How is Sleep Apnea Linked with Teeth Grinding?

Loud snoring at night and sore jaw muscles, especially when accompanied by sleepiness or fatigue during the daytime, could be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common but serious sleeping disorder that impacts breathing. 

But why does your jaw feel sore after waking up? 

If you wake up in the morning with sore jaw muscles, it could be because you are grinding or clenching your teeth during your sleep. This condition is also known as Bruxism. For some people, teeth grinding can be linked to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as well. A person suffering from sleep apnea frequently wakes up during the night as their respiratory system shuts down intermittently, disturbing their breathing patterns. 

Though you may feel more tired throughout the day, you might not otherwise realize it’s happening because you are unconscious. 

Common Symptoms 

  • Frequent and loud snoring 
  • Choking, gasping or snorting during sleep 
  • No matter how much time you spend in bed, daytime sleepiness and fatigue. 

Other Symptoms 

  • Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth 
  • Morning headache 
  • Insomnia, restless sleep, or nighttime awakenings 

How is Bruxism diagnosed? 

Sometimes it is possible that you may not know that you’re grinding your teeth at night, but during your oral examination, your dentist can detect any changes in your dental health. For example, for people who suffer from Bruxism, the surfaces of their teeth are eroded, in some cases even cracked or have loose teeth. 

What is the treatment? 

You can eliminate bruxism and sleep apnea by improving your sleep quality. And most of these symptoms can be alleviated through simple lifestyle changes like: 

  • Manage stress levels 
  • Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight 
  • Daily exercise 
  • Say no to alcohol 
  • Quit smoking 
  • Change your sleeping position 
  • Use a humidifier if you live in a dry climate area 
  • Limit caffeine intake 

But keep in mind treatment for Bruxism differ from case to case. It depends on the underlying cause. For example, if you still grind your teeth after these lifestyle changes, it is possible in some cases, medication or even surgery can be necessary. And sometimes, even a custom oral appliance is made to reposition your tongue or jaw while you sleep to keep your airway open. 

If you have any of these symptoms, do not ignore them; visit your dentist immediately. Because if Bruxism is left untreated, it may damage the cause headaches, periodontal tissues, and you will have persistent jaw pain.