Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition where a person unconsciously grinds or clenches their teeth, usually at night during sleep. The causes of teeth grinding can be complex and varied, and can include a combination of physical, psychological, and lifestyle factors.
- Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety are the most common psychological causes of teeth grinding. When a person is under stress or anxious, they may unconsciously clench or grind their teeth, which can lead to teeth grinding at night.
- Sleep disorders: People with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia may be more likely to grind their teeth. This is because these disorders can cause disruptions in sleep patterns, which can lead to teeth grinding.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as antidepressants, can cause teeth grinding as a side effect.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, can cause muscle rigidity and involuntary muscle movements, which can lead to teeth grinding.
- Misaligned teeth or jaw: Teeth that are misaligned or a jaw that is not properly aligned can put extra stress on the jaws and teeth, which can lead to teeth grinding.
- Alcohol and caffeine: Consuming alcohol and caffeine can cause relaxation of the muscles during the night, which can lead to teeth grinding.
- Genetics: Bruxism may also run in families, suggesting that there may be a genetic component in some cases.
It is important to note that some people may grind their teeth without any specific cause and it’s important to visit a dentist or physician to rule out any underlying conditions. Treatments for teeth grinding will vary depending on the underlying cause. This can include stress management techniques, changes in medication or a night guard or splint to be worn during sleep to prevent teeth grinding. In some cases, if a medical condition or misaligned teeth are identified as the cause, a specialist may be needed to address the underlying issue.
How Is Teeth Grinding Treated? What are the Harms of Teeth Grinding?
The treatment for teeth grinding will depend on the underlying cause.
- Stress management: If stress and anxiety are identified as the cause, stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, and exercise can be helpful.
- Medication change: If a medication is causing teeth grinding, a change in medication may be recommended.
- Night guards or splints: Wearing a night guard or splint can be an effective treatment for teeth grinding. These devices are worn over the teeth and act as a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, reducing the impact of grinding and clenching.
- Dental work: If misaligned teeth or jaw is the cause, dental work such as orthodontics or jaw surgery may be needed.
- avoiding alcohol and caffeine consumption before sleep.
Teeth grinding can cause several harms to the teeth and jaw, including:
- Worn down or chipped teeth: The constant grinding and clenching can wear down or chip the enamel of the teeth, making them more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.
- Jaw pain and headaches: The muscles of the jaw can become sore and fatigued from the constant grinding, leading to jaw pain and headaches.
- TMD (Temporomandibular disorder) : This is a condition that affects the jaw joint and can cause pain and difficulty with jaw movement.
- sleep disturbance for the partner: Loud grinding noise can disturb partner’s sleep.
It’s important to address teeth grinding as soon as possible, as untreated teeth grinding can lead to more serious problems, such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and worn down or damaged teeth.