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Here’s Why You Sometimes Bite Your Teeth in Your Sleep

Everyone has bitten their tongue at least once in their lifetime. Very often, this happens when you’re eating or talking. When the meal is a little too delicious, your teeth can confuse your tongue for bits of food. It’s only normal. Something even more annoying than biting your tongue while eating or talking is biting your tongue in your sleep. It’s painful enough to wake you up. 

Comfortable Sleep

What causes you to bite your tongue in your sleep, and what can you do about it? Read on to find out.

It’s normal in most people.

The first thing you should know is that biting the tongue while sleeping is common. This phenomenon is called bruxism or nocturnal biting. Bruxism can be defined as the clenching and grinding of the teeth while asleep. Its causes aren’t currently known, although doctors believe it has something to do with dreaming. They believe it can also be caused by sexual arousal during sleep.

Bruxism mostly affects the teeth and jaws, and it causes soreness and pain. It also causes injury in the situation where you bite your tongue. It only occurs seldom, and no treatment is necessary. You may experience some bleeding and swelling on your tongue when you wake up. However, if it occurs more frequently or you have severe injuries on your tongue, you should see a dentist.

Several conditions can also cause it. 

There are also disease-oriented causes for nocturnal tongue biting. One of them is spasm of the facial muscles. Muscle spasm is an unconscious contraction, and when it occurs in the muscles that control the jaw and chewing muscles, it can cause tongue biting. It’s most common in children where it causes uncontrollable trembling of the chin during sleep.

Another condition that can cause nocturnal biting is epilepsy. Epilepsy causes uncontrollable seizures in the body, and when they happen at night, they can cause tongue biting. Usually, this biting occurs on the tip and the sides of the tongue, and it can be quite painful.

Sleep apnea is the third cause, and it’s a condition in which breathing stops and starts during sleep. People who have sleep apnea tend to bite their tongues during this cessation of breath. Even though it doesn’t directly cause tongue biting, people who have sleep apnea still experience it. Other signs of sleep apnea include loud snoring, headaches, and fatigue after waking up.

What can you do about it?

Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist who can better diagnose your condition. They may also prescribe continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy to help you get the right amount of oxygen while you sleep. Pressurized air from a CPAP machine, which is delivered through a CPAP mask, solves this problem by opening up your airways and providing the appropriate amount of oxygen into your lungs. With this, you get to enjoy a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.

Sometimes, if you have an uneven dentition, the frequency of your tongue biting can increase, both during the day and at night. For this, you can visit Golsen Dental to have your teeth checked. You can also get a dental night guard. They are soft, thin, and specially designed to keep your teeth from biting your tongue while you sleep.  

If you bite your tongue due to conditions like epilepsy and jaw spasms, you can consult your doctor for treatment. There are also medications to tackle the conditions. If you have bruising on your tongue, a salt solution can help. You prepare it with warm water and wiggle it around in your mouth for about a minute. You shouldn’t use hot water because it can cause further discomfort.