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Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) During Sleep: Effects, Causes, and Treatments

Author: Katie MacMillan


While people can be unaware if they grind or clench their teeth while sleeping, also called bruxism, the effects can certainly be noticeable! Depending on how severe the bruxism is, some people may experience negative effects such as headaches, a sore jaw, signs of wear on their teeth, or tooth loss (WebMD, n.d.). In more severe cases, bruxism can lead to enough wear on teeth to require treatments such as crowns, root canals, or even dentures (WebMD, n.d.). Therefore, it is vital to speak to your dentist if you suspect you grind your teeth.


What causes teeth grinding? For some, it can be due to psychological factors such as stress or anxiety, but for the vast majority, it can be from missing teeth or an abnormal bite (WebMD, n.d.). Sleep disorders can also contribute, including snoring and sleep apnea. There are other factors that can increase the risk of bruxism, including certain medications, medical disorders, family history of teeth grinding, personality type, and age (Mayo Clinic, 2017).


Luckily, modern dentistry has solutions for this issue! Custom mouth guards that are worn while sleeping are a common treatment provided by dentists(Higuera, 2019). Depending on the cause of the bruxism, reducing stress and anxiety may also be helpful, in addition to lowering your consumption of caffeinated foods or alcohol, taking muscle relaxants, and avoiding chewing gum or other non-food substances (WebMD, n.d.).


Resources:

[1] Higuera, V. (2019, March 8). Mouthguard: For grinding, snoring, apnea, sports, braces. Healthline. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/mouth-guard.


[2] Mayo Clinic. (2017, August 10). Bruxism (teeth grinding). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bruxism/symptoms-causes/syc-20356095.


[3] WebMD. (n.d.). Teeth grinding (bruxism): Causes and treatments. WebMD. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/teeth-grinding-bruxism.