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Do you get up in the morning exhausted? If this is the case, and you also experience sore jaw muscles or sensitive teeth, your body might be telling you that you have bruxism—meaning you grind your teeth in the night.

This condition has been affiliated with many other health problems, but the most prevalent connection is something called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If you’ve never heard of it before, it is something that occurs when your airway is blocked and breathing is interrupted because of 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.

Gratefully, teeth grinding can be entirely eradicated if sleep apnea is controlled. Other healthy changes such as weight-loss, controlling allergies, and making positive lifestyle choices can also help. Your doctor may also suggest an oral appliance to prevent damage to the teeth created by gnashing, grinding and clenching.

A forced air breathing machine known as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure machine) can be used if your sleep apnea is severe. This device uses a mask and pressurized 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 use 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 Drs. Borgmeyer and Borgmeyer for an evaluation. Please contact Borgmeyer Dental at 314-351-6554 to make an appointment with our dentists, or come by our office in St. Louis, Missouri.