Studies have found that teeth grinding is prevalent in around 25-30% of adolescents. While it becomes less common as you age, it still affects certain people. In fact, according to BusinessInsider, thirty to 40 million adults suffer from teeth grinding. It’s real, and it’s a problem for many.
Teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, is the clenching or grinding of teeth. You often do it unconsciously during the day while you’re awake and/or asleep at night. For some, it’s just occasional teeth grinding and seems like it’s no big deal. But for others, it can be a frequent and severe problem that leads to serious damage to your teeth.
If you’re guilty of teeth grinding, it’s important to understand its causes, effects, and what you can do about it. Learning the truth about teeth grinding can help protect your teeth before it’s too late.
According to the Mayo Clinic, teeth grinding is considered a sleep-related movement disorder involving snoring and sleep apnea or pauses in breathing. It can also be caused by emotions, family history, medical conditions, and existing teeth problems. If you’re suffering from teeth grinding, any of the following might be the cause:
Clenching your muscles is natural when you’re feeling stressed, angry, or frustrated. It also applies to your facial muscles, leading to teeth grinding or clenching. If you’re constantly under stress, it’s more likely that you’ll find yourself clenching your teeth during the day or at night.
If you have an abnormal bite or missing teeth, it can also contribute to teeth grinding. Misaligned teeth can’t correctly meet when you open or close your mouth, prompting you to clench your teeth for comfort.
Some psychiatric medications cause bruxism as a side effect. These include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat anxiety and depression.
Some medical conditions can cause uncontrollable teeth grinding. These include Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, both neurological conditions. Some mental health disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and sleep disorders can also cause bruxism.
If your parents or other family members grind their teeth, you’re more likely to do so as well.
Sometimes, teeth grinding can just be a bad habit. You might have picked it up from stress or because you’re used to clenching your jaw.
It’s difficult to know if you clench or grind your teeth, especially at night. You will need to ask your partner or housemate if they’ve ever heard you do it in your sleep. But generally, teeth grinding can cause the following signs and symptoms:
Yes, teeth grinding can be harmful to your teeth. Over time, regular teeth grinding can wear down your tooth enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth. It exposes the inner layers of your teeth, making them more susceptible to decay and infection.
Teeth grinding can also lead to Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder, a condition that affects the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. TMJ disorder can be painful and make clicking and popping sounds when you move your jaw. It can also cause headaches, dizziness, and neck pain.
Other conditions may also lead to the signs and symptoms of bruxism. You can look for the telltale signs of bruxism, such as flattened teeth, tooth wear, and jaw pain. If you’re diagnosed with bruxism, your dentist will likely recommend one or more of the following treatments:
A mouthguard can protect your teeth from grinding at night. It also prevents you from clenching your jaw. Mouthguards are available over the counter or can be custom-fitted by your dentist.
Learning how to manage your stress can help reduce teeth grinding. Treatment may include relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation. You may also want to consider counseling to help you deal with stress.
If your bruxism is caused by a medical condition, such as ADHD or sleep disorder, your medical professional may prescribe medication to help. Some doctors can also recommend Botox injections, which help relax your facial and jaw muscles.
Teeth grinding can harm your teeth and lead to many other dental problems. The best way to know if you’re doing it is to ask your dentist. When diagnosed with bruxism, knowing the causes can help you determine the best treatment. Teeth grinding may seem like a small problem, but it can greatly impact your oral health.
Shop Remi today for teeth grinding solutions, including a custom night guard for grinding teeth.