Introduction: What is Sleep Bruxism?
Sleep Bruxism (also known as Teeth Grinding) is defined as repetitive jaw muscle activity during sleep. It is characterized by an unconscious act of grinding or clenching one's teeth tightly together. Over time, it could lead to damage of teeth, oral health conditions, facial muscle pain, sleep disturbances, difficulty while speaking or eating.
Sleep Bruxism is more common in children, adolescents, and young adults than middle-aged and older adults.
The prevalence of sleep bruxism is estimated to be around 15% in adolescents, around 8% of middle-aged adults, and only 3% in older adults.
According to statistical studies 6-50% of children experience nighttime teeth grinding.
How Does Genetics Influence Sleep Bruxism Risk?
Multiple studies have demonstrated that there may be a degree of inherited susceptibility to develop sleep bruxism. According to a study, around 21-50% of affected individuals have an immediate family member who had sleep bruxism during childhood.
Few studies have shown the significant associations of certain variants in neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and others ( DRD3, HTR2A, COMT, MMP9, and others) with sleep bruxism.
DRD3 Gene and Sleep Bruxism
The DRD3 gene encodes the D3 subtype of the dopamine receptor, which is localized to the regions of the brain involved in cognitive, emotional, and endocrine functions.
Variations in DRD3 are implicated in the physiopathology of diseases affecting those functions.
rs6280 and and Sleep Bruxism
The rs6280 is a T>C polymorphism located in the DRD3 gene, where the C allele may increase dopamine affinity and efficacy. Studies have shown that the Gly variant (C) is significantly associated with increased susceptibility to sleep bruxism.
Non-genetic Influences on Sleep Bruxism Risk
Sleep bruxism may be accelerated by lifestyle factors as well. Some of them include:
- Alcohol consumption
- Cigarette smoking
- Upper airway resistance
- Caffeine consumption
Effects of Bruxism on Health
- There is significant damage to the teeth. The teeth can become painful, shaky, and get eroded. Any implants have a risk of getting damaged.
- It leads to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which connects the lower jaw to the skull. This causes locking of the jaw, difficulty with chewing, popping, or clicking noises, and chronic jaw pain.
- The sound from clenching and grinding your teeth can make it harder for the person you share your bed with to fall asleep.
Tips for Managing Bruxism
Mouth guards - Mouth guards help keep the teeth separated and hence prevent grinding.
Stress management - Stress is one of the major contributors to teeth grinding. So finding ways to alleviate stress can help prevent teeth grinding.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine - Teeth grinding tends to intensify upon alcohol and caffeine consumption.
Avoid chewing on pens and pencils - This practice gets your jaws used to grinding movement and may increase your tendency to grind your teeth.
- Sleep Bruxism is defined as repetitive jaw muscle activity during sleep. Over time, it could damage teeth, oral health conditions, facial muscle pain, sleep disturbances, and difficulty while speaking or eating.
- It is more common in children, adolescents, and young adults than in middle-aged and older adults.
- Few studies have shown the significant associations of certain variants in neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and others DRD3, HTR2A, COMT, MMP9, and others with sleep bruxism.
- The C allele of rs6280 SNP found in the DRD3 gene, a dopamine receptor, is associated with increased susceptibility to sleep bruxism.
- As sleep bruxism causes severe damage to the teeth over time and leads to problems with the temporomandibular joint, it needs to be managed. Using mouth guards, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, managing stress, and not chewing on pens and pencils can help.