How Can Orthodontics Improve Your Sleep Quality? One in three Americans aren’t getting their seven hours of required sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . However, quantity isn’t the only problem; poor sleep quality is also causing its share of damage. The National Sleep Foundation lists set requirements for good sleep quality. They include falling asleep within half an hour of getting into bed, and waking up no more than once during the night. Doing so enables you to go through all the important sleep stages - including the restorative deep sleep phase. It can be hard to fall and stay asleep, of course, if you have tooth or jaw pain, or if you have headaches or jaw pain caused by tooth grinding. Orthodontics can help improve these conditions, thus helping body and mind get the rest they need , every night. Orthodontics vs Bruxism Sleep bruxism (tooth grinding at night) is a prevalent condition , occurring at least occasionally in 13.7% of the general population. If you frequently grind your teeth at night, pain in the teeth and jaw, as well as headaches and earaches, can ensue, thus interfering with your ability to fall and stay asleep. Orthodontics in the form of retainers can help prevent bedtime bruxism . Temporary mouth guards can also be used to avoid grinding and resulting pain. TMD and Uneven Bites Another reason why you might find it hard to fall asleep, is TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). A 2016 study published in the journal Sleep Medicine found that sleep quality is significantly impaired in people with TMD. This is even more pronounced when patients are battling strong, chronic pain. Uneven bites are one of the main causes of TMD. Orthodontic treatments to ensure teeth are well aligned can help reduce pain and bring about improvements in the joint itself. Orthodontics and Breathing Correcting crooked teeth and bite problems can help prevent related sleep apnea by helping to clear the airway. When the lower jaw is incorrectly aligned, the result can be airway obstruction. Braces and other orthodontics can help prevent this problem, which is more serious than it may seem. Sleep apnea increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart problems, so it is important to take snoring and daytime tiredness seriously, and to get tested for sleep apnea if recommended by your doctor. If malocclusion (misaligned teeth) are the problem, orthodontics will most likely be recommended, though sometimes, surgery is required. For many patients, a mix of orthodontics and lifestyle changes (such as weight loss in the case of patients who are obese) can significantly reduce snoring and apnea. There is an important relationship between the state of your oral health, and your quality of sleep. If you are grinding teeth or your jaw isn’t correctly aligned, you can experience pain and stress, which are unconducive to sleep. If you have jaw pain or crooked teeth, see your dentist and ask about orthodontics, which may be just what you need to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. About the Author: Sally Phillips is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.