Recovery Bruxism: Dental Teeth Grinding Solutions
August 4, 2017

“Bruxism is teeth grinding, and it is a fairly common condition,” says Dr. Jamie Alexander, the Recovery Dentist in Boynton Beach, FL. “It affects between 8% and 31% of the population. The percentage has varied across studies, so let’s estimate an average of 14.5% of the population is likely to be bruxing. Both daytime and nighttime bruxism can lead to a number of health problems, including tooth wear and fractures, periodontal disease, and headaches. More people brux at night than during the day. And, bruxism has been found to occur more under stress and when the individual has malocclusion (a poor bite). Studies have indicated that smoking and large alcohol consumption increases sleep bruxism. And, because many of my patients are experiencing stress and smoke cigarettes during the early months and years of alcohol and drug addiction recovery, I am especially attentive to the bruxism problem.”

A recent review of studies linking increased risk of bruxism to alcohol, tobacco, and coffee consumption was published in 2016 (Journal of the American Dental Association, November 2016, Vol. 147:11, pp. 859-866). Dr. Bertazzo-Silveira and colleagues used multiple search databases to compile a list of studies that evaluated the topic. They looked for case studies of adult patients and excluded ones in which patients had a neuromuscular disease or were taking medication.

Quitting Drinking for Teeth Grinding Solutions

Reviewing 818 studies, these researchers selected seven studies where outcomes revealed a link between both smoking and alcohol use. They discovered that both tobacco and heavy alcohol use increased the risk of a participant showing signs of sleep bruxism. In addition, the studies that investigated the link between sleep bruxism and alcohol and tobacco showed only low to moderate signs of bias.

“The intake of large quantities of alcohol in a short period results in toxic effects on the brain and also may be related to the CNS [central nervous system] disturbance that could set off or exacerbate [sleep bruxism],” the authors wrote. “In addition … [sleep bruxism] was significantly more prevalent among smokers. Possible explanations were that nicotine may affect the smoker’s pain response centrally or that tobacco use may reduce the blood supply to tissues.”

Dr. Bertazzo-Silveira and colleagues also found that participants who consumed more than 8 cups of coffee per day were more likely to have possible sleep bruxism. However, the research supporting this finding was relatively weak, especially compared with the studies on alcohol and tobacco.

The authors of the 2016 study were concerned that the studies they reviewed might not have been randomized or representative of a large, diverse population. Also, some of the included studies are more than 40 years old. But, what they found is still important to dentists like Jamie J. Alexander of Boynton Beach, FL, who works with patients in recovery, because these patients have a high incidence of the signs and symptoms of bruxism.

Quitting Smoking for Teeth Grinding Solutions

“Our dental patients, who are in recovery from alcohol addiction and other substances, may be locked in cycles of nicotine addiction. Even though they try to quit smoking, it is more difficult for them dues to their genetic makeup,” says Dr. Alexander. “Continued smoking presents a grave potential for a damaging degree of teeth grinding. If we restore the teeth and the patient still smokes, we need to take preventive measures to shield the teeth from the potential wear and tear of bruxism. The patient has gone through a lot to be in recovery and maintain abstinence. The patient has gone through a lot to return to a normal life without alcohol or drug abuse. And, the patient has invested a lot in restoring their oral health and smile. The last thing we want to happen is premature wear on their valuable dental restorations and unrestored teeth. This is why I fit my recovery patients with a custom, hard-acrylic night guard that is comfortable to wear and easy to maintain. Most report sleeping better, and they no longer have jaw muscle tenderness when they wake up in the morning.”

According to Dr. Alexander, “There are ample reasons to stop smoking. Teeth grinding solutions for Bruxism is just one of these. I do everything I can to advise and help my patients with smoking cessation. When they are ready, with the right support, I know they can do it.”

Wanting to talk to Dr. Alexander about teeth grinding solutions you can implement into your dental routine? Give us a call today.




Dr. Jamie Alexander

Dr. Alexander is committed to providing the best health and dental care available within a warm, welcoming, and safe environment. Our goal at Recovery Dentistry is to build long-term relationships with our patients and provide services that are customized and appropriate for each individual. No matter your current state of dental health or feelings about your teeth, we are experts at helping move patients down the path to complete comfort and optimal dental health, function and esthetics.