Teeth Grinding – Why do we grind our teeth?

Teeth grinding can occur both during sleep and in wakeful periods. Unconsciously clenching your teeth when awake is called awake buxism. Most often caused by stress or even intense concentration, it is often a coping mechanism to deal with anxiety. Clenching and grinding during sleep is called sleep bruxism and usually has a number of potential causes from medication to disease as well as stress. People who suffer from bruxism will clench their jaws and grind their teeth back and forth. This action is potentially problematic as it can over time lead to tooth sensitivity, damage and even cracking.

Why am I grinding my teeth?

There are a number of potential causes behind teeth grinding:

  • The most common cause of grinding and clenching is anxiety caused by stress. Excessive worry makes you prone to jaw clenching and sleep grinding.
  • Certain medications and medical conditions can exacerbate or cause teeth grinding. Some antidepressants, excess stomach acid reflux and Parkinson’s disease can all potentially cause grinding as well
  • People who suffer from sleep apnoea or snoring are more likely to clench their teeth.
  • Many children suffer from sleep bruxism but it is likely to go away by the time they reach adulthood
  • People with more aggressive or competitive personalities may be more prone
  •  Smoking cigarettes can trigger grinding
  •  Genetics. Many people who suffer from sleep bruxism also have family members who have the same problem.
  • Other disorders such as dementia, epilepsy, night terror and ADHD can all cause bruxism

Those who suffer from sleep bruxism are likely to only discover this when the symptoms arise. Mild bruxism may not need to be treated but if you grind or clench your teeth often enough, it can lead to jaw disorders, headaches and tooth damage. It is therefore important to know the signs of bruxism and get regular dental care.

Signs that you suffer from bruxism

  • Some people grind their teeth loudly enough that it wakes their sleep partners
  • Many people suffer from flattened, fractured, chipped or loose teeth
  • The enamel becomes worn and eventually exposes the deeper tooth layers
  • Tooth sensitivity and pain increases
  • Tight or tired jaw muscles which can lead to a locked jaw that does not open or close completely
  • Pain in the face, neck and jaw
  • Pain that feels like earache even if you suffer from no ear problems
  • Dull headaches that begin in the temples and then reach the face and neck
  • Damage from chewing the cheek insides
  • Disrupted sleep

We recommend that you seek an appointment with Crown Dental Group if you suffer from any of the above symptoms or have any other tooth or jaw issues.

How to stop grinding your teeth

If stress is causing the grinding, then we suggest stress counselling, visiting a psychical therapist or even using muscle relaxants the help ease awake bruxism. However if it is a sleeping disorder causing the grinding, you can do some of the following to ease your symptoms:

  • Cut back on or avoid caffeine in coffee, cola and chocolate
  • Reduce or avoid alcohol consumption
  • Avoid chewing gum as it causes your jaw muscles to become accustomed to clenching, making you more likely to grind your teeth.
  • Actively train yourself to not clench or grind. If you notice that you are grinding during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth as with will train your jaw muscles to relax
  • Holding a warm washcloth against your cheek, in front of your earlobe can help relax your jaw muscles

Mouth Splints as a solution

At Crown Dental Group, we believe that one of the best treatments for sleep grinding is a mouth splint which will protect your teeth. Made from durable dental acrylic, this custom made and fit mouth piece can control the harmful effects of bruxism. Splints can also assist with sleep apnoea and snoring as well.

Benefits of dental splints:

  • Adjusting the bite to a more optimum position
  • Maintaining your bite and facial structure integrity
  • Preventing pain related to TMJ dysfunction
  • Protecting teeth from wear, sensitivity and pain
  • Relaxing muscles and ligaments to eliminate facial muscle tension
  • Restricting the ability to grind teeth during sleep

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) – Griding Teeth

1. Why am I grinding my teeth?

There are a number of possible causes behind teeth grinding. The most is anxiety caused by stress. Excessive worry makes you prone jaw clenching and sleep grinding. Certain medications and medical conditions can exacerbate or cause teeth grinding. Certain antidepressants, too much stomach acid reflux and Parkinson’s disease can all potentially cause grinding. People who suffer from sleep apnoea or snoring are more likely to clench their teeth. Many children suffer from sleep bruxism but it is likely to go away by the time they reach adulthood. People with more aggressive or competitive personalities may be more prone to bruxism. Smoking cigarettes can lead to grinding. Many people who suffer from sleep bruxism also have family members who have the same problem. Other disorders such as dementia, epilepsy, night terror and ADHD can all cause bruxism.

 

2. How do I stop grinding my teeth?

The best solution for teeth grinding is dental splints but there are other steps that can help you if stress is causing the grinding. We suggest stress counselling, visiting a psychical therapist or using muscle relaxants the help ease awake bruxism. However if it is a sleeping disorder causing the grinding, we recommend the following:

  • Cut back on or avoid caffeine in coffee, cola and chocolate
  • Reduce or avoid alcohol consumption
  • Avoid chewing gum as it causes your jaw muscles to become accustomed to clenching, making you more likely to grind your teeth.
  • Actively train yourself to not clench or grind. If you notice that you are grinding during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth as with will train your jaw muscles to relax
  • Holding a warm washcloth against your cheek, in front of your earlobe can help relax your jaw muscles

3. What are dental splints?

Dental splints or mouth guards are considered one of the best treatments for grinding as they serve to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep. Made from durable dental acrylic, this custom made and fit mouth piece can control the harmful effects of teeth grinding.

Benefits of dental splints:

  • Adjusting the bite to a more optimum position
  • Maintaining your bite and facial structure integrity
  • Preventing pain related to TMJ dysfunction
  • Protecting teeth from wear, sensitivity and pain
  • Relaxing muscles and ligaments to eliminate facial muscle tension
  • Restricting the ability to grind teeth during sleep

If you suffer from sleep bruxism then call Crown Dental to book an appointment with one of our qualified specialists today and begin your journey to better sleep and healthier teeth