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If you greet the morning still exhausted, with sore jaw muscles or sensitive teeth, this could be an indicator that you grind your teeth in the night, a condition known as bruxism.

Several health problems are known to be connected to this condition, but the biggest risk factor is something called obstructive sleep apnea. If you’ve never heard of it, it happens when your breathing is interrupted because the airway is blocked by relaxed throat muscles. One out of every four people who have this condition also grind their teeth at night, and it affects more men than women.

Thankfully, nighttime grinding of the teeth can be eliminated if sleep apnea is managed. Making changes to your lifestyle, like weight-loss and controlling allergies, can help. Your doctor may also suggest an oral appliance to prevent damage to the teeth created by gnashing, grinding and clenching.

A continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP can be used if your sleep apnea is severe. This device uses a mask and forced air to keep the airway passages open. This prevents the problem outright, including the eradication of snoring, which always accompanies the disorder. Research has confirmed that when a person with both sleep apnea and bruxism uses a CPAP, both conditions are improved or end entirely.

If you are worried about your pattern of sleep, feel exhausted all the time, or have neck or jaw pain, come and see Dr. Rebecca Blum for an evaluation. Please contact NOLA Dental Studio to make an appointment at: 504-667-5909, or come by our office in Kenner, Louisiana.