Your Mouth Mirrors the Health of Your Whole Body (7)
GRINDING, TEETH CLINCHING, SNORING
In this article, we will focus on teeth clenching, grinding, and snoring, building upon the previous part where we discussed tooth extraction and wisdom teeth specifically.
GRINDING AND TEETH CLINCHING
Clinically known as bruxism, grinding, and teeth clenching can occur during concentration, increased stress, or physical activity. However, for many people, it happens involuntarily during sleep without their awareness. This can manifest on teeth as chipped, worn edges, or exposed tooth necks. The most visible effect is the enamel loss on the front upper and lower teeth, making them shorter and appearing unnatural. Ground-down teeth can overload others, potentially leading to damage or fracture of otherwise healthy teeth. Bruxism not only harms teeth but also affects jaw joints and, consequently, other body parts connected to the jaw.
Involuntary movements keep the jaw joints active, leading to joint pain, popping, clicking, and discomfort during mouth opening and closing, as well as yawning. Excessive joint activity can result in headaches, migraines, pain, or ringing in the ears, as well as back or neck pain. Sleep quality diminishes, and individuals may wake up feeling tired or lacking energy and experience fatigue during the day. Involuntary movements can be caused or exacerbated by stress, emotional suppression, and alcohol consumption.
What causes snoring? The unpleasant sound arises from vibrations of soft tissues in the upper airways. During sleep, the tension in the muscles of the soft palate, tongue, and throat decreases. The tongue slightly "falls" backward into the throat, narrowing the airway, making it easier for the soft palate to vibrate and produce that typical sound. Airflow in the respiratory pathways may also encounter an obstacle, causing vibration, for example, when swollen tissue in the nasopharynx occurs during a cold or allergy.
Snoring disrupts sleep; people breathe through open mouths, leading to lower blood oxygenation, higher stress on the heart and blood vessels, and a higher tendency for gum inflammation, tooth decay, and bad breath in the oral cavity. It is crucial to note that breathing through the nose activates the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for regeneration, relaxation, and digestion. Conversely, mouth breathing is associated with the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for action, fight, or flight responses, leading to the release of stress hormones.
IMPACT ON SLEEP
Chinese medicine considers sleep quality directly proportional to overall health. During sleep and regular rest, the body regenerates, gaining strength, influencing our mood, attention, and more. Conversely, insomnia has unfavorable effects on both physical and mental conditions. Lack of sleep can result in lack of concentration, irritability, sadness, anxiety, and depression. From a physical perspective, chronic poor sleep accelerates the aging process and contributes to cardiovascular diseases, memory disorders, diabetes, or obesity.
There are various causes of sleep disorders, ranging from mild ones like poor sleep hygiene to more severe ones associated with obesity, anatomical anomalies, or sleep apnea (breathing cessation during sleep).
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
To address bruxism or snoring, it is beneficial to work on suppressed emotions, stress, regular meditation, and breathing exercises. Physiotherapy offers specific exercises to strengthen the muscles around the jaw joint involved in its function, while others aim to relax these muscles, including jaw, facial, and swallowing muscles associated with involuntary movements.
Snoring is mostly a mechanical process that can also be mechanically suppressed. In some cases, it is useful to utilize various mechanical aids: oral strips that help breathe through the nose, special devices against grinding, clenching, and sports mouthguards or anti-snoring devices.
From a dental perspective, reconstructing the bite and occlusal relationships, as well as replacing missing teeth with dental implants or other dental restorations, evenly distributes forces and pressures during chewing. Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, may be beneficial, not only for aesthetic purposes but also for aligning the correct position of teeth in the upper and lower jaw.
Adhering to good sleep hygiene, addressing overweight, exercising, and maintaining a balanced diet is essential. Vitamins supporting peaceful sleep, the nervous system, and overall body energy metabolism include vitamin B1 and vitamin D3. They serve as cell protectors and building blocks for many enzymes and hormones, including serotonin and dopamine that affect the autonomic nervous system, crucial for relaxation.
From Energy products, we recommend:
- Relaxin (magnolia and kudzu root) – supports serotonin production, the "product of balance and happiness."
- Stimaral (ginkgo biloba) – influences mental well-being, liver health, digestion, and cognitive functions.
- Revitae (ginseng, vitamin B, chlorella, sea buckthorn, ginkgo biloba) – positive effects on mental state, performance, vitality, and stress management.
- Peralgin (cordyceps, magnesium, valerian) – mental well-being, stress management.
- Gynex (licorice) – mental health and tranquility, self-acceptance.
- Renol – for difficulty relaxing, fear emotions, feeling threatened.
- Skeletin, Goji – contribution to dental and bone health.
- Vitamarin (fish oil) – a source of vitamins A, D.
- Green foods – rich in, among other things, B-group vitamins.
MUDr. et MDDr. EVA and HANA LUSKAČOVY