Bruxism is the excessive grinding of the teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw. Sleep bruxism, also known as nocturnal tooth grinding, is the medical term for clenching or grinding teeth during sleep.
Sleep bruxism is a type of movement disorder that occurs during sleep and is a common condition – one survey estimates that 8% of adults grind their teeth at night and a study shows that more than a third of parents report symptoms of bruxism in their children.
Occasional bruxism may not be harmful but when it occurs regularly, it may be associated with moderate to severe dental damage, facial pain, and disturbed sleep. It sometimes is caused by medication or has a genetic basis. Sometime bruxism can be caused by or confused with obstructive sleep apnea or rarely a form of epilepsy.