J Oral Rehabil. 2022 Jan;49(1):47-53. doi: 10.1111/joor.13271. Epub 2021 Nov 15.
BACKGROUND: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common sleep disorder due mainly to peripheral causes, characterized by repeated episodes of obstruction of the upper airways, associated with arousals and snoring. Sleep bruxism (SB) is a masticatory muscle activity during sleep that is characterized as rhythmic (phasic) or nonrhythmic (tonic) and is not a movement disorder or a sleep disorder in otherwise healthy individuals. Given the potentially severe consequences and complications of apnea, the concurrent high prevalence of SB in daily dental practice, getting deeper into the correlation between these phenomena is worthy of interest..
STUDY OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between SB-related masseter muscle activity (MMA) and apnea-hypopnea events as well as to assess their temporal sequence.
METHODS: Thirty (N = 30) patients with sleep respiratory disorders and clinical suspicion of sleep bruxism (SB) were recruited. Ambulatory polygraphic recording was performed to detect apnea-hypopnea events (AHEs) and sleep bruxism episodes (SBEs). Pearson test was used to assess the correlation between apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and SB index (SBI). A 5-s time window with respect to the respiratory events was considered to describe the temporal distribution of SBEs. Furthermore, SBI was compared between groups of patients with different AHI severity (i.e., mild, moderate and severe) using ANOVA.
RESULTS: On average, AHI was 27.1 ± 21.8 and SBI 9.1 ± 7.5. No correlation was shown between AHI and SBI. Most of SBEs (66.8%) occurred without a temporal relationship with respiratory events. Considering OSA, 65.7% of SBEs occurred within 5 s after AHEs, while in the case of central apnea (CA) 83.8% of SBEs occurred before the respiratory event. The participants with severe apnea (N = 9) show a tendency to have higher bruxism indexes when compared to patients with mild (N = 11) and moderate apnea (N = 10).
CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that: 1. At the study population level, there is no correlation between AHI and SBI, as well as any temporal relationship between SBEs and respiratory events. 2. Specific patterns of temporal relationship might be identified with future studies focusing on the different types of apnea-hypopnea events and bruxism activities.