Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder makes charting the course of your day a challenge. The relief provided by stimulant medications like Adderall can seem like a miracle, but the wonderful focus that they deliver can come with a surprising price: bruxism. If you're taking Adderall to manage your ADHD, how worried should you be about the effects of Adderall on teeth grinding and jaw clenching? What can you do to safeguard your smile from their destructive effects?
Connecting the Dots: Adderall and Bruxism
As the University of Washington's School of Dentistry makes clear, dentists treating patients who are taking Adderall for their ADHD are aware that they need to be on the lookout for several oral health issues. Teeth grinding, jaw clenching, dry mouth, and jaw pain are all known side effects of this medication.
Adderall, an amphetamine, is just one of many stimulant medications. Dexedrine, Dextrostat, and Vyvanse are other forms of amphetamines. Meanwhile, Ritalin and Concerta are methylphenidates. They're approved by the FDA as first-line drugs for use in treating conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy.
Stimulant medications like Adderall work by affecting the body's central nervous system. The medications increase the availability of certain neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that carry messages in the brain. This stimulation can speed up brain activity, boost your focus, and improve your attention span. Unfortunately, not every effect is so positive.
The use of stimulant medications can have serious consequences for your teeth. That's because the same medication that calms your ADHD can trigger decreased saliva production. Less saliva leaves your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria and decay. Stimulant medications can also spur tics and repetitive motions like jaw clenching and teeth grinding. This extra wear and tear can be harmful for your jaw muscles and teeth. As if that wasn't bad enough, stimulants can also trigger muscle tension. The temporomandibular joint, the hinge joint at the corner of your jaw, is one place where this tension tends to show up. This can lead to the development of painful TMJ disorders.
Treating Teeth Grinding
You don't have to choose between your ability to manage your ADHD and maintaining your smile. Naturally, you'll want to work with your doctor to make sure you're on the right dose of your ADHD med. However, if problems with teeth grinding persist, there are effective treatments that can protect your oral health. In fact, you have several options.
When using medications to combat bruxism, there are a couple of different strategies to try. Although no one knows exactly what causes bruxism, stress and muscle tension are clear factors. Many people find that antidepressant and antianxiety medications help ease their bruxism. Others find relief with muscle relaxants.
Botox is paralytic. Injecting small doses into targeted muscles relaxes them. For bruxism sufferers, injecting Botox into the muscles that control chewing may reduce grinding. These injections have to be administered with care by a professional, but they should provide relief for a few weeks or months.
Athletes routinely wear mouth guards to protect their teeth while they compete. People with bruxism can use similar items to safeguard their smiles. Called a mouth guard, night guard, or oral splint, this device is a thin piece of molded plastic. Generally worn each night, it forms a cushioning barrier between the upper and lower teeth. This prevents the tooth-on-tooth grinding that can be so damaging to their surfaces. Night guards are user-friendly and highly effective. They're also a drug-free approach. This means people taking ADHD medications won't have to worry about drug interactions.
What should you look for in a night guard? The first step is deciding between an over-the-counter model or a custom-fit one.
Over-the-counter night guards can be purchased at Amazon or a drugstore. They come with trays that you boil before biting to form an impression. These night guards are affordable, easy to use, and easy to replace. However, they're thin and weak, so they won't last long. In fact, they aren't durable enough to serve moderate or heavy grinders for even a short period of time.
Custom-fit night guards can be purchased from your dentist or online from a specialty company like Pro Teeth Guard. They're made in a professional dental lab from medical-grade materials to fit your mouth. As a result, they are more durable, better fitting, and more comfortable to wear.
Other Side Effects
Teeth grinding may be the one that got your attention. However, it's not the only side effect to watch out for when you're taking Adderall or other ADHD medications. As Healthline reports, these medications are known to cause a variety of side effects. Sleeping problems, headaches, nervousness, heart rate changes, dizziness, stomach problems, weight loss, and high blood pressure are just the beginning of a lengthy list.
When prescribed Adderall, always remember that stimulants like those used to treat ADHD can be addictive. Take your medications as directed and avoid improper drug use. Report serious side effects or concerns to a doctor immediately.
There's no question that ADHD can have a major impact on a person's quality of life. Likewise, many bruxism sufferers have a hard time figuring out how to manage the destructive behaviors that define the condition. When you find yourself dealing with both issues at once because teeth grinding is a side effect of your ADHD medication, the impact on your mental health can be significant. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools available to help you and your health care team successfully manage your mental, physical, and oral health.
Is a custom-fit night guard part of your plan for protecting your smile? Pro Teeth Guard offers custom-fit mouth guards online for an affordable price. Our night guards are effectively the same products that you’d receive from a dentist. They're manufactured in a professional dental lab using professional materials and processes. Contact us today to learn more.