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The constant clenching of the jaws and grinding of the teeth is called bruxism. Most people go through a phase of bruxism at some period during their lives but this usually passes by itself and does not cause any medical complications. Bruxism is an unconscious tightening of the jaw and can occur at any time of the day or night but the bruxism effects on the health happen most commonly in cases where the affliction occurs while the person is asleep. Although it is a habit and not a sickness, if bruxism does not fade away soon it can impact the rest of the body and result in the occurrence of other medical problems.

There are a variety of ways that bruxism can affect the health and these are categorized as either short term or long term effects. Short term bruxism effects include such problems as headaches (patients are more likely to suffer from headaches by a factor of three), earaches, aching facial and jaw muscles, difficulty in fully opening the mouth, pain and stiffness in the shoulders, sleep disruption, loose and falling teeth and inflamed gums among others health issues. Luckily in most cases when the bruxism stops, either as a natural process or through medical treatment, the effects also fade away on their own with no need for any additional treatments or therapy. What many people tend to ignore is the effect that even short term bruxism can have on emotional ties. The grinding and disturbed sleep of the nocturnal bruxism patient can affect the sleep of the spouse or partner and cause him or her to sleep in a different room which often leads to huge strains on the relationship.

If bruxism persists and does not fade away by itself over time, it is categorized as long term bruxism and this may have far more serious effects and require specialized medical care. The most common long term effect is the wear on the teeth and even broken teeth which result can result in disfigurement. It is only after the bruxism has been stopped that treatment in the form of corrective surgery and the fitting of dentures and caps can be undertaken. From the long term health point of view, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) is a more serious problem as this is a condition of the joints and muscles that is caused by the stress that bruxism places on the jaws, neck and shoulders which can impair mobility. While these problems may be cured by physiotherapy, in many cases long term medication and even invasive treatment is often called for.

Because bruxism is not a life threatening medical condition that does not mean that it should not be taken seriously. It should not be forgotten that bruxism effects extend far beyond the mouth and jaws and that it can have a major negative impact on the overall health and lead to other sicknesses.

Article source: http://dentalplayers.com/dental/bruxism/1/