Snoring and teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) occur at night while you’re sleeping. For this reason, many people are unaware that they snore or grind their teeth until a bed partner notices or they wake up with symptoms of these habits. A dentist or physician may also notice signs of snoring and bruxism. Many people do not realize how closely related sleep and dental care really are.
Once you have awareness of these issues, you can seek treatment through many different options. As you determine the cause of your snoring and teeth grinding, you might also discover that you have another underlying health condition causing these sleep disturbances.
Are Snoring And Bruxism Related?
Yes, snoring and bruxism can be related. Snoring occurs when the upper airway is partially blocked or narrowed. Bruxism occurs when people clench or grind their teeth. Bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder, and people who brux are more likely to have other sleep disorders. These might include snoring or untreated sleep apnea.
A 2020 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that bruxism was associated with higher snoring intensity. The study also found that bruxism and snoring tended to be worse when people slept on their backs (Michalek-Zrabkowska et al 2020). Knowing that bruxism and snoring are linked helps when exploring treatment options.
How are Snoring and Sleep Bruxism Linked?
Typically, grinding and clenching happen during lighter stages of sleep. When you have sleep disordered breathing, such as snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you can jolt out of deep sleep into those lighter stages. The more time you spend in light stages of sleep, the more opportunity you have to grind your teeth at night. So, while snoring does not cause bruxism and vice versa, they are significantly connected.
According to the article Sleep bruxism: Current knowledge and contemporary management published in the Journal of Conservative Dentistry, most bruxism happens during those lighter stages of sleep. Less than ten percent of bruxism episodes happen during deep REM sleep (Yap & Chua 2016).
When you snore and are continually jolted into lighter sleep, you are left more vulnerable to bruxism, TMJ, and the painful side effects of these disorders. These side effects might include lower jaw pain, temporomandibular joint pain, neck pain, headaches, and tooth sensitivity. Fatigue is also a result of both sleep bruxism and snoring.
Addressing snoring and teeth grinding will likely improve your oral health and your overall physical health.
How to Stop Snoring
The best way to stop snoring is to determine the cause of your snoring. Snoring can be a result of lifestyle choices: drinking alcohol before bed or sleeping on your back, for example. Other risk factors are more serious and more difficult to remedy. These might include obesity, sleep apnea, or hypothyroidism.
You may find it difficult to determine the cause of your snoring on your own. Your healthcare provider may ask you to undergo a sleep study so you can receive more information about why you snore.
Depending on the cause of your snoring, some of these remedies might help:
- Using a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) for sleep apnea
- Avoiding alcohol in the hours leading up to bed
- Quitting smoking
- Undergoing surgery to fix a deviated septum or other anatomical differences
- Using nasal decongestants
- Sleeping on your side (as opposed to your back)
- Losing weight
- Wearing anti-snoring nasal strips
If you are unable to determine the cause of your snoring, consider consulting a medical professional for advice.
How to Stop Teeth Grinding
While you aim to stop snoring, it is useful to treat your bruxism as well to protect your teeth and jaw muscles in the meantime.
Similar to snoring, the best way to stop teeth clenching and grinding is to identify the root cause. For bruxism, this might be stress or genetics, although it can be difficult to identify one single cause of bruxism (Yap & Chua 2016). Because it is difficult to determine the cause of bruxism, treatment often involves mitigating symptoms.
These are some common remedies for bruxism:
- A mouth guard or oral appliance: This creates a barrier between your top and bottom teeth to reduce damage.
- Botox for bruxism: This relaxes your muscles and can reduce grinding.
- Vitamins and supplements: Magnesium, vitamin B5, calcium, and vitamin D may be effective.
- Stress management: This might include relaxation techniques or talk therapy.
According to the previously mentioned article Sleep bruxism: Current knowledge and contemporary management, “A combination of different strategies may be warranted to protect teeth/restorations, reduce bruxism activity, and relieve pain.” As you work with your dentist to treat your bruxism, you may find that a combination of treatments works best for you.
Is Snoring Dangerous?
While snoring itself is not inherently dangerous, sleep medicine experts explain that snoring may be a sign of a deeper health issue or medical condition. These health problems might include breathing disorders, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, or obesity.
Snoring can also lead to disrupted sleep, for both you and your bed partner.
Because snoring can be a sign of a larger problem and because it can be disruptive to your life, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your snoring. He or she will be able to either rule out or diagnose any medical conditions as well as work with you to reduce the snoring.
Addressing Snoring and Teeth Grinding
Snoring and teeth grinding are related dental health issues, though one does not necessarily cause the other. Snoring can push you into lighter stages of sleep, which may lead you to be more vulnerable to bruxism. If you snore and grind your teeth, it’s important to address both problems. After speaking to a medical professional, you might even realize that both of these issues have the same cause, which will aid in treatment.
Snoring may be addressed by a variety of treatments, including changing your sleeping position, losing weight, or using nasal decongestants.
One of the most popular ways to treat bruxism is with a night guard. At Pro Teeth Guard, you can get a custom-fit mouthguard at an affordable price. We make our night guards in a professional dental lab, and every night guard is guaranteed to fit comfortably with our 110% money-back guarantee.
- Alkhatatbeh, M. J., Hmoud, Z. L., Abdul-Razzak, K. K., & Alem, E. M. (2021). Self-reported sleep bruxism is associated with vitamin D deficiency and low dietary calcium intake: a case-control study. BMC oral health, 21(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12903-020-01349-3
- Fry, A. (2021). Common Causes of Snoring. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/snoring/common-causes
- Michalek-Zrabkowska, M., Wieckiewicz, M., Macek, P., Gac, P., Smardz, J., Wojakowska, A., Poreba, R., Mazur, G., & Martynowicz, H. (2020). The Relationship between Simple Snoring and Sleep Bruxism: A Polysomnographic Study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(23), 8960. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17238960
- Potter, J. D., Robertson, S. P., & Johnson, J. D. (1981). Magnesium and the regulation of muscle contraction. Federation proceedings, 40(12), 2653–2656. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7286246/
- Suni, E. (2020). Bruxism & Sleep - Sleep Disorders. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bruxism
- Yap, A. U., & Chua, A. P. (2016). Sleep bruxism: Current knowledge and contemporary management. Journal of conservative dentistry : JCD, 19(5), 383–389. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-0707.190007