Tracking my Bruxism
Peter Kuhar presents his findings on tracking his bruxism (teeth grinding). Peter used an infrared video camera at his bedside to film his mouth at night and shares his findings in this video.
Fitbit | Video camera
So what I want to show is my teeth grinding tracking project and sound the early results that I got. So teeth grinding bruxism is basically when the muscles that control the jaw activate spontaneously during sleep in a kind of a chewing motion. This can happen like at one second interval, and for me it’s like two to ten grinds in a row and it can happen like 10 to 20 times in the night, sometimes more.
The problems with this is that the forces are superhigh. It’s about up to 180 pounds which is about this much weight on your jaw, on your teeth. And this can cause problems with teeth, and I’m actually I’ve grounded part of my teeth down, so it’s kind of like square now, it’s less.
It can cause cracks in teeth. The teeth can move around because of the high forces at night. And also, since these muscles are active during the night, basically exercising them and they can get sore in the morning, so I can get like dull headaches that basically go away but they are kind of always there.
So my dentist what he did was basically prescribed a mouthguard to protect my teeth so I don’t damage them, and this is what you would usually get is a mouthguard. It doesn’t help with the grinding itself, it still grinds, and it actually grinds even more because mouthguards tend to cause more grinding. I’m not sure why but I’ve seen this from other sources and from my experience.
And there is no profit solution at this point. I was looking through the latest reviews of the literature. This is from September 2016, and basically like currently there is no fixes for this, only like patches.
I’ve seen some recommendations for like about stress reduction, meditation, some nutritional supplements like magnesium. It works for some, but it doesn’t work for everyone, and the problem is how do you know if it works or not because the changes are slow and subjectively you can’t track this.
So for this, I did a bunch of experiments before, like a couple of years back and I didn’t get good results because I didn’t have good tracking. And what I have now is a headband that has an infrared-based muscle sensor. This sensor basically monitors the compressed muscles here and it sees when you bite and grind, this tends to like budge out. It’s quite small so you can even sleep on the side with it and you don’t notice it.
The good side of this is that it has good heart rate, because it works similarly to an accelerometer, it’s just more dials and different programs. I also included a flash to record like eight hours or nine hours of raw sensor data, a motion sensor to track my sleep and to remove the motion artefacts. And it has a CPU that able to process this data also. And I combined this with an infrared camera that’s over my bed. I actually have a couple of cameras but I mostly use the one on the right.
Then in the morning I grabbed the headband data and I sink it up with the video and I have this UI built and the second line here is the muscle sensor output. For example, this is a clean example and then I have to manually review all the grinds because of the motion artefacts and some other problems. It sometimes just from the sensor, it’s hard to see what’s right and what’s not and trying to get the video of this.
And I have a couple of videos, so this is one very typical example of grinding. It’s like one grind per second, 10 grinds here and then it stops. It’s usually connected with some other motion, like you move a little bit then it grinds, or grinds and then you turn around. You can like check the jaw and it’s very clear.
When I did some recordings of this without a mouthguard it’s frankly quite disturbing how loud this gets and what kind of sounds you produce.
That’s one of the reasons how I first learned about this, like my wife was telling me about like I make these sounds at night, and the other thing is my dentist told me like we need to do something about this, so this is pretty typical.
Sometimes there is an external trigger right, in this case of my wife turning around will cause me like to do a couple of grinds, maybe just look at my mouth next time so she starts turning and I start grinding. Is quite typical. Most of my grinds aren’t triggered by her but some are.
Based on the research they figure out this is called like micro arousers and the arouser can be internal or external. And there are some other strange things like focus on my face right now yeah, like what’s different. I was trying to figure out from the literature like what’s happening here. I couldn’t find anything and if someone knows what this is it would be great.
At first, I noticed some blink zoning, but this one looked quite extreme and just a wave going through my body.
So, what I’ve learnt. I grind less if I go to bed really late, so maybe I’m just too tired to grind or something like that. And I grind less towards the morning. It could be because of the external light and I want to do some experiments around this like trying to have sunlight or red light inside the bedroom.
And some grinds are external and the stuff I want to do next, like currently, is very labor-intensive having to review all of the grinds manually. I want to make the algorithms better so I can just take the app in the morning and just see my score. And I want to do experiments around like does meditation help, does nutrition change anything, alcohol, coffee, all of the external factors and I want to just make this thing go away. I don’t want to wear the mouthguard at all the times, it’s kind of annoying. So, any questions.