Bruxism is a habit that affects around 8-10% of the population. It is broadly characterized by grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw that causes tooth wear and breakage, disorders of the jaw (pain and limited movement) and headache. Bruxism occurs in both children and adults but is most common in 25-44 year olds. However, most people grind and/or clench their teeth occasionally to a certain degree.
Bruxism is classified into awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. Awake bruxism is characterized by involuntary clenching of the teeth and jaw bracing in reaction to certain stimuli. There is generally no tooth grinding with awake bruxism. Sleep bruxism is characterized by automatic teeth grinding with rhythmic and sustained jaw muscle contractions.
There is no specific cure for bruxism and it is important to manage the consequences of the disorder. Various preventative measures including mandibular advancement devices, drugs, stress management and occlusal splints have been used.
Bruxism mouth guards are designed to keep your upper and lower teeth apart to prevent premature tooth wear and noise from teeth grinding. The bite plates on the guard are slowly ground down during bruxism episodes rather than the teeth. Many sufferers also report that headaches and facial pain is reduced when using such a guard.