Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity that commonly occurs in most people at some point in their lives. The two main characteristics of this condition are grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw. These actions usually occur during a person’s sleeping hours, but may also occur during the day, particularly when stressed. Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders. The most common symptoms are earaches, headaches, muscle pain and tooth discomfort, but can lead to difficulty in eating or opening and closing your mouth.
Throughout a woman’s life, hormonal changes affect tissue throughout the body. Fluctuations in hormonal levels occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause, but even during your menstrual cycle or if you are taking birth control medication. At these times, the chance of periodontal disease may increase, requiring special care of your oral region. During puberty, there is increased production of sex hormones. These higher hormone levels increase gum sensitivity and lead to greater irritation from plaque and food particles. The gums can become swollen, turn red, and feel tender. Similar symptoms occasionally appear several days before menstruation.
Research has recently proven what dentists have long suspected: that there is a strong connection between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. Periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation of the gum tissue, presence of disease-causing bacteria, and infection below the gum line. Infections and bacteria in the mouth can spread throughout the body and lead to a host of problematic health issues. Therefore, maintaining excellent oral hygiene and reducing the progression of periodontal disease through treatment will have benefits beyond preventing gum disease and bone loss.