At least 12 percent of us grind our teeth at night. This is especially annoying for others who sleep near you and until recently it was thought that it was mainly bad for your teeth: they can wear out.
But it is also useful. Recent research shows that it also has health benefits, Ghizlane Aarab of the Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam tells the AD. “For example, it helps people with sleep apnea: breathing regularly stops for at least ten seconds during sleep. This is because the muscles in your pharynx are weak, causing the throat to close and no longer allowing air to pass through. By grinding your teeth you activate chewing muscles and tighten the muscles in the pharynx. This opens the airway again and makes it easier to breathe.”
Preliminary research also seems to show that chewing – what you actually do when you grind your teeth – is good for your memory. In addition, chewing stimulates the production of saliva, which protects the mouth against bacteria that cause cavities or against stomach acid.
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