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What is Bruxism Effects On The Human Body?

Updated on February 11, 2010

Varied Bruxism Effects On The Human Body

 Bruxism is an affliction of the clenching of the jaws and gnashing of the teeth.  It occurs in most people at some period of their lives but is usually a passing phase and does not result in any health issues.  It is an unconscious habit that can occur either during the day or at night; the bruxism effects on the health of an individual are greatest when the clenching and grinding occurs while asleep.  While bruxism is not a disease but more of an uncontrollable habit, it can, if it continues for a long period, affect the overall health and lead to other medical problems arising.


 There are a variety of ways that bruxism can affect the health and these are categorized as either short term or long term effects.  In the short term, the most common bruxism effects range from aching facial and jaw muscles, difficulty in being able to open the mouth completely, earaches, severe and regular headaches, loose and damaged teeth, sleep deprivation and pain in the shoulders and neck.  In the majority of cases, as the bruxism fades away, usually as a natural process or sometimes because of medical intervention, these symptoms and effects also disappear on their own.  One often overlooked affect of bruxism is the way it can damage a relationship.  The constant grinding of teeth and disturbed sleep of a bruxism patient can affect the sleep of a partner or spouse to the extent they may be forced to sleep in another room and this can adversely affect the intimacy on which the relationship depends.


 The long term bruxism effects, if the problem does not disappear within a reasonable amount of time, can be far more severe and can often require specialized medical treatment.  The most common and obvious bruxism effect is the damage to the teeth by the grinding – worn and broken teeth are common in those who have suffered from bruxism for a long time.  While dental surgery and the fitting of caps and dentures can correct the disfigurement, nothing can be attempted until the bruxism is finally stopped.  Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ is a more serious complication from the point of view of long term health complications- the stress the bruxism places on the joints and muscles of the jaws, neck and shoulders can affect mobility.  Although in many cases physiotherapy can provide effective treatments, many cases often require heavy medication or even surgical intervention to treat the bruxism related problems.


 Since it is not a life threatening disease and the many bruxism effects are not widely known, most people treat the problem lightly.  Bruxism effects are not limited to just the mouth and jaw but, as mentioned above, can extend to other parts of the body and become the cause of other health issues.

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