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Why Rabbits Grind Their Teeth and Breathe Heavily During Sleep


Rabbit owner who learned along the way how much fun having a bunny rabbit is.

Rabbits are crepuscular animals. You will normally see wild rabbits running around outside either very early in the morning or very late at night. Most often when you are driving through the countryside, around dusk or dawn, rabbits can run out in front of your car to get across the road. Around springtime you will see many of them running and skipping around the fields, annoying farmers.

That's the habits of wild rabbits, so what are the habits of domestic rabbits? While farmers aren't fans of them, we humans adore the sight of a cute bunny rabbit with big ears and bright eyes who hops around the house.

5 Things New Rabbit Owners Will Learn

If you have never owned a bunny rabbit before then you will initially notice some of their unusual habits as the week’s progress.

  1. Rabbits like to sleep during the day.
  2. Rabbits can also sleep with their eyes open
  3. Rabbits become very active late at night and early in the morning.
  4. Rabbits like to make lots of noise when they are awake.
  5. Rabbits have dreams.

Every new rabbit owner will learn lots of exciting new things about their rabbit as the weeks pass by. Rabbits are very playful creatures that like to run around and chase you.

When they wake up if they do not have an area to run around in they can start banging their food bowl on the floor or they might start trying to gnaw on the cage.

Indoor rabbits will most likely be confined to one room every night but in the day time they will be outside.

If you house your rabbit outside try to have a secure pen attached to the cage that they can play in when awake.

Train Your Rabbit to Sleep

If you have never owned a bunny rabbit before then you will initially notice some of their unusual habits as the week’s progress. .

  1. Rabbits like to sleep during the day.
  2. Rabbits can also sleep with their eyes open
  3. Rabbits become very active late at night and early in the morning.
  4. Rabbits like to make lots of noise when they are awake.
  5. Rabbits have dreams

Any new rabbit owner will learn lots of new things as the weeks of being a bunny rabbit owner passes by. They are very playful creatures and they like to run around and chase you.

When they wake up if they do not have an area to run around in they can start banging their food bowl on the floor or they might start trying to gnaw on the cage.

Indoor rabbits will most likely be confined to one room every night and in the day time they will be outside. If you house your rabbit outside try to have a secure pen attached to the cage that they can be let in to play around in.

Train Your Rabbit to Stay Awake More

  1. If you house your rabbit inside then you need to keep them awake as much as you can after you come home from work.
  2. Do activities with them in the morning if you have time and in the evening as well so that you help them burn of excess energy.
  3. If your rabbit is an indoor rabbit, then having a pen that has lots of space means that during the day they can run around and play.
  4. If you have an enclosed garden and you are home during the day, you can let your rabbit run outside in the grass.

Since rabbits are crepusculum animals, this is going to be going against their natural instincts, so you're going to have to try to change their behaviour. It will be hard and there will be mornings where they still wake up early.

Did You Know?

Rabbits are crepuscular animals, which means that they are most active at dusk and dawn.

Sleeping Patterns and Behaviour of Rabbits

The two things any rabbit owner needs to know about rabbits are:

  1. We refer to their sleep patterns as paradoxical sleep.
  2. The movement of their body while asleep is referred to as an atonic and myoclonic movement.

What Is Paradoxical Sleep?

  • Paradoxical sleep is the scientific term used to describe the way that a rabbit sleeps.
  • A rabbit sleeps very deeply but is also alert. They go into a state of REM but can wake up instantly. Their sleep pattern is referred to as a paradoxical sleep patterns.
  • Rabbit do go into a deep sleep when they are napping.
  • Rabbits also have dreams.
  • You might notice rapid eye movement when your rabbit is sleeping.
  • Rabbits always have their ears out listening to their surroundings and can wake up within seconds if they feel threatened.

Although your rabbit appears to be sound asleep, its brain is still sending out signals to the rest of the body in a way that's very active. This causes rapid eye movements in the rabbit as well as heavy breathing, and instant wakefulness in the rabbits and this is also the stage of sleep when humans will start dreaming.

What Is Atonic and Myoclonic Movement?

  • When rabbits are asleep, their bodies experience symptoms of atonic and myoclonic movement.
  • When a rabbit experiences this type of sleeping it means that their bodies will seem to become more fluid and flexible (atonic) while sleeping.
  • They will also experience the symptoms of rapid eye movement and involuntary jerking (myoclonic movements) (Findlay & Hayward, 1968).

How Can You Tell If a Rabbit Is Sleeping?

  1. If your rabbit's eyes are closed, then this is the obvious sign that they are having a nap.
  2. If your rabbit eyes are open, then it can be a little bit confusing. The best way to check this out is to look at the side of their face. If they don't move or twitch or their body looks to be very relaxed and fluid then they are asleep with their eyes opened.
  3. Rabbits need a space that is their own. They do like to run and hang out with you but they also need a quite place to relax and wind down in.

Fun Fact

Rabbits sleep eight hours a day—but during the day as opposed to the night.

Rabbits Falling Over While Sleeping

  • When a rabbit becomes comfortable in its surrounding it will drop to its side and go to sleep.
  • The first time that you witness this type of behaviour from your bunny rabbit, it might seem like your rabbit just fainted or lost the strength in its body. This behaviour is referred to as an atonic condition.
  • However while it might seem like your rabbits is fast asleep it is still alert and any sudden noises or movement will cause it to immediately wake when they hear it. They will then jump up, raise their ears raised and push up their head to see what the noise is.

Bunny Rabbits Purring

Rabbits don't purr but they do grind their teeth when they are happy. But they also grind their teeth if they have a tooth ache. The difference is the teeth grinding that happens during the sleeping is the happy grinding.

You will feel the vibration on the chin/cheek area while petting the rabbit around the head. This is the rabbit's way of purring. It’s a sign that it is extremely comfortable and happy in its surroundings. Plus, it's a sign that they love what you are doing to them.

Rabbit Twitching in Its Sleep

Sometimes, when the rabbit is sleeping, you might notice an odd head, cheek, or even full-body twitch. Your rabbit is actually having rabbit dreams. This is the myoclonic action that comes into play when the rabbit is asleep.

You will witness the odd involuntary movement from your rabbit and the best thing to do is to not touch your rabbit; leave it be and let it enjoy this quiet little nap. Here is a video of a rabbit while sleeping sourced from YouTube below.

Sources

Suitable environment for rabbits, Nidirect.gov.uk, https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/suitable-environment-rabbits

Sleep Habits of Hoppy Bunnies, (2019), https://verlo.com/blog/sleep-habits-of-hoppy-bunnies/#:~:text=Bunnies%20are%20%E2%80%9Cdaytime%E2%80%9D%20sleepers%2C,which%20means%20%E2%80%9Ctwilight%E2%80%9D

How Do Rabbits Sleep?

Questions & Answers

Question: Why do rabbits grind their teeth?

Answer: There are a few reasons for this. Identify first when does it occur and what were they doing prior to it starting up.

1. Grinding teeth can occur if your rabbit is relaxed, snoozing and happy and grinding their teeth is their form of a cat purring.

2. They might have teeth issues referred to as hooks. The back teeth grow in towards the tongue. But if your rabbit is eating and drinking the same as normal then it could be something else.

3. They might have an abscess. You will need to get a veterinarian to check this out.

Watch your rabbit when it is eating to see if it is an issue with their teeth. If it is, then your rabbit will need to see the vetenarian.

Question: What do rabbits dream about?

Answer: Just like cats and dogs, I think they dream about playing with their family and friends. But since we don't have any scientific research on rodent dreams, it's open to speculation.

Question: Why do rabbits lose fur?

Answer: Each season rabbits will shed their old coat and grow in a new one. This is part of a cycle that occurs each year. This also happens to dogs and cats.

Question: Can I give my pet rabbit fish antibiotics?

Answer: I think you really should get this checked out by a veterinarian. Not dealing with medical issues as soon as possible can cause things to get worse. Is there a rescue charity center that would provide care that you could pay the cost back in installments? Maybe a friend or family member might be willing to lend you some money.

© 2011 Sp Greaney

Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on February 18, 2018:

@Mona Sabalones Gonzalez, yes they are. They get super energic at night, but it's cute.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on February 18, 2018:

Interesting:). I have had rabbits in the past but I must be oblivious by nature, never noticed they were nocturnal.

Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on January 28, 2014:

Hi TilHanzo, repetition. Bunnies are most active very early in the morning and very late at night. So my advice is to let them run around for a few hours if you can during the evening when you get home.

If you go to bed at 11:00pm, then you need to put him/her in their cage or pen at the same time and then turn off the lights. Do not stay in the same room.

My guy knows now that when he is put into his pen, that's its bedtime.

Usually they take catnaps and you aren't aware that they are sleeping. You can't actually get them to sleep when you're around by rota, you just need to let them sleep in their own space.

TilHanzo on January 28, 2014:

Hello, does anybody have any suggestions about the best method to get their baby to sleep all night?

I have read many pages with suggestions but I am still struggling.

Best wishes

Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on October 05, 2013:

Hi Xerligue , This behaviour happens when they are relaxed and comfortable in their environment. The symptoms you give are exactly what happens when my guy drops down too. Sometimes his whole body actually vibrate when he is asleep and he then wakes himself up.

Bunnies are still conscience of their environment when in this state and that alertness to the noise and their subsequent awaking indicates this.

I think that because it's such a bizarre thing to see happen it can be worrying, I know my vet never mentioned this behaviour to me.

But if they have no other bizarre physical symptoms that look like something could be wrong with their bodies, then I think they are ok. However, if you ever have a worry about something, it's no harm mentioning it to your veterinarian.

Xerligue on October 03, 2013:

my rabbit drops on its side... i can hear it drop... then it just lay their with no much movement... nose doesn't twitch.. both ears r down.. paws r like in the running position but on its side... at first i thought it was dieing or sick... but its been doing that from 3pm to 6pm.... they pop up when they hear a load noise... r they sick?? or im worrying too much??

Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on May 21, 2013:

@ bunbuns, that sounds unusual. I would definitely check it out.

My rabbit hurt his back leg a few years ago. We though he had broken it. When they did an x-ray at the vets, it was found to be dislocated. We were told he wasn't allowed to jump, run or walk anywhere except to his litter tray for 3 weeks. This would give him time to heal.

I'm happy to report that he was one happy bunny to be let out of his cage after three weeks.

Once you get a diagnoses you will feel a lot better and the same thing might be wrong with your bunny as was with mine.

If it's dislocated then it's lots of rest and very little movement to allow it to get better.

bunbuns on May 17, 2013:

my 10 yr old bunny is crossing legs when standing could he have dislocation?

Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on January 02, 2013:

@ sleepguru, they are truly the cutest little creatures. You will have lots of fun when you get one.

sleepguru on January 02, 2013:

Aww, they are cute, I am actually planning to get a rabbit for a pet the soonest, I just love them. Thank you for sharing this, this is so timely!

Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on April 30, 2011:

Thanks J.S. Matthew. glad you liked it...

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on April 29, 2011:

Interesting Hub! Voted Up and Useful.

JSMatthew~


How Teeth Grinding and Clenching Affects Your Health

If damage to the teeth and gums has already occurred, it’s usually possible to repair this damage with dental treatments. What’s more, you can also treat the ‘secondary problems’ caused by bruxism.

With that in mind, let’s discuss 12 medical conditions caused by bruxism, and what can be done to help.

Facial Pain (Leading to Hypertrophy)

It’s common for people with bruxism (both daytime and nocturnal) to experience facial pain and swelling. Specifically, the muscles in their face become tender and inflamed, and it can be hard to open and close their jaw. This is sometimes referred to as “face myalgia.”

If you’ve woken up with a sore face, but you’re not sure whether it’s due to bruxism, consider the location of the soreness. Do you have pain on the sides of the jaw and on the top of the cheekbones? If so, this suggests your masseter muscle is inflamed, which could be a sign of teeth grinding.

Why is facial pain a problem? Well, besides it being a nuisance, facial myalgia can actually lead to muscle hypertrophy. In other words, certain facial muscles can build up so much that an imbalance occurs, and your appearance changes a lot. For example, people who grind their teeth for many years often develop a ‘square jaw.’

If you already have facial myalgia, try holding a cold compress to your face for fast relief. Be sure to apply the compress for at least 10 minutes, holding it firm against the skin.

In addition, there is evidence to suggest that massaging the facial muscles can help to relieve pain and may prevent bruxism in the future – especially if teeth grinding has been caused by stress or anxiety. This is because massage relaxes the masseter muscle.

To massage your masseter muscle, follow these steps:

  • Your masseter muscle stretches from the underside of each cheekbone down to the jawline. If you place your thumb or finger underneath your cheekbone, you should be able to locate a pressure point. This is what Painscience calls the ‘Perfect Spot No. 7.’
  • You’ll know when you’ve found this spot because you should feel a bit of relief when pressing on it.
  • Applying a medium-firm pressure, start massaging this spot with your fingers. Massage this area of your face using circular motions. Some people find this easy to do when lying down on their sides.
  • This should provide some relief from myalgia, but also headaches, dizziness, toothache, or any other symptoms related to the jaw region!
  • Doing this massage daily will help the jaw feel more relaxed and may prevent future clenching/grinding.

If hypertrophy (a square jaw) did develop, there are procedures that can remove part of the masseter muscle. It would take several years for a muscle imbalance to develop. Nonetheless, it’s best to see your doctor at the first signs of facial myalgia, to prevent your condition from worsening.

Headaches and Nausea

Headaches are a side-effect of bruxism because people who grind their teeth often have tensed or irritated muscles (myalgia). Headaches (as opposed to migraines) are typically caused by muscle tension, so it makes sense that bruxism would cause headaches.

If you experience headaches in the morning, as soon as you wake up, this could signify you’ve been grinding your teeth during the night.

If you grind your teeth regularly, you may become dizzy and lightheaded. When the jaw becomes inflamed, your inner ears can become inflamed too. This is because the jaw hinge is very close to the ear. The inner ear is responsible for helping us keep our balance. As such, jaw disorders can cause a feeling of vertigo.

Interestingly, headaches induced by teeth grinding could be associated with low magnesium levels. A study published by NCBI found that magnesium supplementation eradicated a headache caused by bruxism and cured the bruxism entirely (over a period of months). Separate studies have shown that magnesium helps to relax muscles, particularly when absorbed through the skin.

If you’ve already sustained a headache, you can gain temporary relief by staying hydrated and using a hot or cold compress. Pain medication will also be useful but take advice from your pharmacist regarding the type of medication that is suitable for this type of headache.

In the long run, learning how to relax the muscles should help you alleviate headaches, and perhaps prevent them from occurring in the first place. To promote muscle relaxation, try practicing the masseter muscle massage each night before you go to bed. In addition, you could try consuming more dietary magnesium or supplementing with magnesium chloride hexahydrate (liquid magnesium). To relax your muscles, try the following facial exercises:

  • Open your Jaw– Try letting your jaw relax as much as possible. Imagine your jaw has dropped – with surprise or offense. Try holding your jaw in this position for 10 minutes (stop if you feel pain). This should help you retrain your jaw to stay relaxed.
  • Slur your Speech – Imagine you are intoxicated and you have to say everything much slower. In other words, try speaking out of your lower jaw or throat and avoid using the muscles at the top of the mouth.

To see results, try these exercises daily, for at least a month. Some dentists recommend against chewing gum as it encourages too much jaw activity and stops your jaw from relaxing at night.

Stiff Shoulders and Neck Pain

Most people would not associate shoulder or neck pain with a jaw condition. Nonetheless, according to a review on Wiley Online, it’s quite common for people with bruxism to get a stiff neck and shoulders.

Neck pain can be worsened by sleeping in an unhealthy position. Moreover, as we’ve discussed, teeth grinding often occurs in people with sleep apnea, especially as they enter periods of disrupted breathing.

OSA can be aggravated by being overweight and sleeping in certain positions because some positions encourage the airways to constrict. For this reason, anyone with sleep apnea should consider their sleeping position to improve their symptoms (and prevent secondary conditions like bruxism).

If you don’t already, you should consider sleeping on your side – as opposed to your back. Studies have shown that this can help improve the symptoms of sleep apnea and neck and shoulder strain. If you must sleep on your back, try to support the neck’s natural ‘c’ curve by using a supportive pillow at the correct height.

In addition, if you are overweight, losing weight will almost certainly improve the symptoms of sleep apnea, thereby preventing secondary conditions such as bruxism.

Finally, you could consider sleeping with an oral appliance. A mandibular advancement guard will treat sleep apnea and prevent teeth grinding. This type of mouthguard aligns the upper and lower arches of the jaw and keeps the airways open. It can be difficult to get used to at first, but many people find this system helpful in the long run. This type of system keeps the head, jaw, and neck supported so will reduce pain in the neck and shoulders.

Earache

Ontalgia (earache) occasionally occurs as a side effect of bruxism. Various nerves from the cranial regions and cervical regions terminate inside the ear. As such, the pain felt in the ear can originate from a number of different locations.

When we have an earache, we’re most likely to visit the doctor. A recent review published by Cambridge Core highlights the need for doctors and dentists to work together when diagnosing and treating secondary ontalgia caused by bruxism, as it can often go undiagnosed by doctors.

This is partly because earache can occur quite soon after someone starts to grind their teeth. As such, there may only be very minimal visible damage to the teeth (if any). Earaches caused by bruxism appear to be a lot worse in the morning, and the pain they cause radiates into the jaw or temples.

If you have an unexplained earache, you should always see your doctor and/or dentist for further investigation. In the first instance, you may be asked to sleep with a mouth guard, to see if this makes any difference to your ear pain.

In the short term, you may also be offered botulinum toxin injections. Studies have shown that these injections can provide immediate relief to earaches, facial pain, and headaches brought on by bruxism.

Sleep Disruption

Teeth grinding can be loud – as loud as snoring in some cases. The muscles in the jaw are incredibly strong and can produce a lot of force when required. So, anyone sharing a bed with you will probably be disturbed by this noise.

The relationship between bruxism and poor-quality sleep is well recognized -– especially if you add sleep apnea into the mix. Evidence shows that people with sleep apnea and bruxism are likely to have more REM (light) sleep than the rest of the population.

If most of your sleep is REM sleep, you will not feel well-rested at all. As such, it’s no surprise that people with worn-down teeth often report tiredness, low mood, or chronic fatigue.

Ideally, you should improve your sleep hygiene to make sure you’re getting enough good-quality, slow-wave sleep. Teeth grinding is less likely to occur during periods of deep, slow-wave sleep. This has led some scientists to predict that improving sleep hygiene may lessen the chances of bruxism because we’d spend less time in ‘lighter’ stages of sleep.

Firstly, avoid stimulants like tea, coffee, and cigarettes after midday. Additionally, try going to bed at the same time every day, and sleep in a dark, comfortable environment that is free of electronics.

There is currently not enough evidence to conclude that improving your sleep hygiene will prevent bruxism. Nevertheless, sleep hygiene, at the very least, should help you feel more rested.

Tooth Sensitivity and Tooth Loss

A toothache can occur if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Long-term daytime bruxism (jaw clenching) may weaken your teeth and increase the likelihood of them falling out. Teeth grinding (nighttime bruxism) is more likely to wear down the teeth, causing them to become very sensitive.

Grinding motions can damage the protective enamel of the tooth, leaving the nerve endings dangerously exposed. It can take many years of grinding to wear the teeth down. However, you might notice some early signs of enamel damage after a couple of months.

Early signs of enamel damage include– a sharp, tingling sensation in the teeth, and an inability to tolerate hot or cold foods. The teeth towards the back of the mouth (molars) are most likely to become damaged by bruxism.

One of the problems with treating daytime bruxism (i.e. jaw clenching) is that wearing a mouth guard or mouth splint is not always appropriate. If bruxism is occurring mostly in the daytime, CBT or hypnotherapy may be more useful treatments. Clearly, it’s important to intervene as soon as possible to prevent the teeth from becoming weak and falling out prematurely.

If teeth have become sensitized due to grinding, there are various things you can do to prevent further damage and pain. Consider these tips:

  • Avoid sugary and acidic foods If you must eat these foods, you should combine them with the main meal
  • Drink lots of water
  • Ask your dentist to recommend toothpaste and mouthwash specifically for sensitive teeth. Your dentist may advise using a fluoride gel or rinse. In addition, they may apply a substance to your teeth to seal exposed dentine
  • Choose a toothbrush with medium or soft bristles and avoid electric toothbrushes. Change your brush every 3 months
  • Chew your food slowly and opt for softer foods where possible
  • Never bleach your teeth or use an abrasive whitening toothpaste
  • Try not to smoke

If you’ve already developed sensitivity in your teeth, it’s vital you visit your dentist regularly, so they can detect any further damage. As a last resort, teeth that are heavily worn down due to bruxism can be remedied with dental crowns or veneers.

Fillings Break Off

If teeth grinding becomes compulsive, fillings are likely to become damaged. Fillings are less secure than our regular teeth, so it makes sense that these would become dislodged first.

Indeed, common places to have fillings are between the molar or premolar teeth (towards the back of the mouth). This area of the mouth is most likely to be impacted by grinding or clenching.

However, do keep in mind that fillings come loose for all sorts of reasons. For example, if the cavity is an awkward shape this could cause the filling to break off easily. Or, if the filling is located in a baby or ‘first’ tooth, it will probably come loose very easily.

If your filling does come loose, and you’ve been diagnosed with bruxism, your dentist will usually offer you a filling with a bonded or composite inlay. This strengthens the filling and reduces the chances of it becoming dislodged by other teeth.

Inflamed Gums and Pulpitis

Pulpitis occurs when the tooth’s pulp (nerves, connective tissue) becomes inflamed. This is usually due to a bacterial infection. Bacteria are more likely to enter the tooth’s pulp if the teeth or gums are damaged. Unfortunately, teeth grinding can erode the teeth and cause the gums to recede, leaving you susceptible to pulpitis.

Pulpitis can cause a throbbing sensation in the tooth, but it does not always cause immediate pain. Sometimes, it can be difficult for the sufferer to locate which tooth is infected. If caught early, pulpitis can usually be treated. However, sometimes it is irreversible and may lead to nerve damage – or a ‘dead tooth.’

At the first sign of bruxism, it’s a good idea to purchase a medical mouthguard, to prevent teeth grinding. This will help protect the enamel of your teeth and prevent bacterial infections. At the same time, follow the instructions above regarding how to protect sensitive teeth.

You should also avoid smoking at all costs as this will increase the bacteria in your mouth, leaving you susceptible to pulpitis.

If you have developed irreversible pulpitis (i.e. the pulp is damaged beyond repair), your dentist will need to operate on the tooth. They may choose to extract the pulp and replace it with a material called ‘gutta-percha.’ Alternatively, they may choose to extract the tooth entirely.

Abscess

An abscess in the mouth is usually caused by a bacterial infection. Grinding the teeth can lead to an abscess, particularly if it goes on for a long period of time, and the enamel of the tooth wears down. If pulpitis is left untreated, it can turn into an abscess. Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the mouth that worsens when you lie down
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Pain that spreads across one whole side of the face

An abscess requires emergency treatment. If you don’t have immediate access to your dentist, you should go to the emergency room.

A dentist may need to remove the tooth, carry out a root canal surgery, or drain some of the fluid. They’ll probably also prescribe you some strong antibiotics to stop the infection from spreading.

If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you are particularly susceptible to abscesses. As such, you must not delay treatment for bruxism.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

According to the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, the temporomandibular joint is the most unique and hardworking joint in the body. This joint is actually two joints, situated on either side of the face, and connected by the jawbone.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) is essentially caused by inflammation of the jawbone (i.e. teeth grinding). Because the joint is actually made up of two joints (one on each side of the face), the pain felt on the right side of the jaw could actually be caused by inflammation on the left side of the jaw – and vice versa.

Sufferers will TMJ often find it difficult to open and close their mouths and may experience a popping or clicking sound when trying to do so. They may also have swollen glands.

TMJ is not a dangerous condition but it can make life difficult. For example, some people find it difficult to eat proper mouthfuls of food. Others will find the popping and clicking sound disconcerting and may not get a proper night’s sleep because of it. Besides teeth grinding, other causes of TMJ include:

  • Severe stress
  • An overbite or an irregular bite
  • Severe physical trauma
  • Joint wear and tear (old age)

If you feel you have TMJ as a result of bruxism, you should see your doctor and dentist for an evaluation. A dentist will be able to examine your teeth for any early signs of erosion caused by bruxism.

TMJ can be a long-term condition. This means, even if you stop grinding your teeth, you may still experience some jaw pain and stiffness. If that is the case, there are things you can do to alleviate the pain. For example:

  • Eat soft foods that your jaw can manage
  • Use a hot or cold compress, particularly before bed, to soothe the jaw
  • Facial massage
  • Do not yawn too wide
  • Do not chew your food aggressively and do not chew gum
  • Don’t use your front teeth to bite and chew food

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a ringing in the ear, that can range from barely audible to deafening. About a third of people with bruxism experience tinnitus at some point or another. People with TMJ are also likely to experience tinnitus. It can get a lot worse during periods of stress.

As we’ve discussed bruxism can cause an earache, because there are many nerve endings in the ear that originate elsewhere in the face. In addition, the grinding and chewing motion of bruxism can put a strain on the temporomandibular joint which seems to create noises in some people’s ears.

There are no specific treatments for tinnitus. If the tinnitus is assumed to be caused by bruxism, the first line of treatment is usually a mouthguard. Muscle relaxation exercises may also be recommended. Furthermore, socializing and distraction activities are often recommended as tinnitus can get worse if you spend a lot of time alone.

Stress and Fatigue

Stress is thought to be the leading cause of bruxism, but it’s surely an effect of this condition, too.

For example, the sleep disruption caused by this condition is likely to lead to fatigue and stress. Not only that, the mouthguards used to treat this condition can be stressful to use. In addition, tooth damage is likely to lead to poor self-image, which can become a further source of stress and anxiety.

It’s crucial to break the stress-bruxism-stress cycle. First of all, show yourself that you are taking control of your situation. Make an appointment with your doctor and talk to your family members about your condition. Also, consider joining a support group for bruxism sufferers.

Diet, exercise, and social support are proven methods for managing stress and improving self-image. Exercise may be particularly useful for treating bruxism because it may encourage you to relax your muscles.

How Can Bruxism Be Prevented?

Now we’ve discussed the secondary problems caused by bruxism, let’s conclude by discussing how to prevent teeth grinding in the future.

  • If you suspect you have a sleep disorder (such as sleep apnea), get a formal diagnosis and start treatment immediately
  • Cut down all stimulants (tobacco, caffeine, sugar) – especially before bedtime
  • Improve your sleep position (sleep on your side) and practice good sleep hygiene
  • Do muscle relaxing exercises or massages on a daily basis
  • Manage your stress levels – whether you try socializing, meditation, or cognitive behavioral therapy – try to keep stress under control.

Make sure you visit your dentist at appropriate intervals. For a long time, we’ve been told that visiting the dentist once every 6 months is satisfactory. However, recent advice from the American Dental Association states you must go as often as your dentist determines necessary.

So, to prevent bruxism from developing, try to keep communication lines open with your dentist, and stick to your scheduled appointments. You’ll sleep much better at night if you do.

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Rabbit Emergencies

You may be faced with a rabbit emergency. We hope this article will help you understand how to identify illness or injury so you can help save your rabbit's life.

Obviously, we can't cover every eventuality. And, if the rabbit in your care looks sick or uncomfortable when you see them, watch and evaluate the rabbit and call the vet if the situation has deteriorated. If the rabbit is doing something that isn't listed here but you are still worried, follow your instincts - it's safer to over-react than under-react. The worst that can happen is that you make an un-necessary call to the vet. You are their guardians. Only you can know when they need help. Only you can get them to the doctor.

Rabbits are unlike dogs or cats - they do their best to conceal any illness. What's different about rabbits? Rabbits are programmed to conceal their illnesses. This is a behavioral adaptation of a creature at the bottom of the food chain: a wild bunny showing obvious signs of illness becomes an easy target for a predator. Unfortunately, for pet rabbits, this tendency to conceal signs of illness can lead to catastrophe. Whereas dogs that have tummy ache usually look pathetic straight away, rabbits don't shout from the rooftops when they feel unwell. In fact, they can look remarkably normal ("just a bit quiet") even when at death's door. To make matters even worse, rabbits are small animals. This means that if they do become unwell, they can become dehydrated (and hypothermic) very rapidly.

Prompt veterinary advice is vital if the rabbit is to have fighting chance of surviving a serious illness. Delaying 24 hours to see what happens can prove fatal. These are examples of danger signs that indicate you need to contact a vet immediately:


Happy Rabbit Sounds

If you see a rabbit that is running, leaping, and flopping over onto their sides, that usually means that the bunny is doing the happy dance. Some other signs of contentment include:

  • Clucking: Rabbit clucking does not resemble the clucking sounds of a chicken—it is a lot quieter. A clucking sound coming from a rabbit means that they are satisfied with what they are nibbling on.
  • Purring: Purring for a rabbit is a lot like purring for a cat in that they both mean "happy and content." However, cats purr using their throat while rabbits make the sound by lightly rubbing their teeth together. It is a very soft sound, but one you will want to listen for.
  • Humming: While all rabbits do it on occasion, most rabbit keepers associate it with an unaltered buck wooing his lady love.

How to Diagnose Respiratory Problems in Rabbits

Last Updated: April 7, 2019 References

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 28,636 times.

Respiratory problems are common in rabbits and can be quite serious. One reason for the seriousness is that rabbits are obligate nasal breathers, meaning they breath only through their noses. This means that a blocked up nose is hugely distressing, and can lead to rapidly declining health. Because of this, it is important that a rabbit owner can recognize the signs that their rabbit has a respiratory problem. It's also important that the owner seeks veterinary attention for the rabbit if its health is in question.


Watch the video: 5 Clear Signs that Your Rabbit Loves You! (July 2021).