Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, most commonly occurs during the night when we sleep. It is characterized by the clenching of the jaw muscles and sometimes moving teeth back and forth against each other. This involuntary condition affects individuals of any age, gender, or race. And if you grind your teeth at night, you’re one of the 8% of adults who also suffer from bruxism.

There are a number of common ways people find they have this condition. Maybe you determined it for yourself because of consistently waking up with a sore jaw or dull headache. Maybe your dentist took a look at your teeth and noticed the wear and tear on your mouth. Maybe a loved one has even awoken to the sound your teeth make when grinding together.

Whatever the way you found out, you may now want to know why.

Below are some of the most common reasons for teeth grinding.

Stress and Anxiety

According to The Bruxism Association, nearly 70% of teeth grinding occurs as a result of anxiety or stress. Stress isn’t put on hold when you go to sleep. You are still feeling the same strain and tension, only it is manifesting itself in your jaw and muscles.

Job-related stress is is the most significant factor related to bruxism and can be detrimental to a good night’s sleep. It may even have the potential to become a vicious cycle in which you have stress and anxiety in the workplace caused by not getting enough sleep–and you don’t get enough sleep because the stress is making you grind your teeth. We suggest trying to work on stress-relieving exercises at work.

Malocclusion or Other Teeth Problems

Have you ever been told you have Malocclusion? Malocclusion is when your teeth are misaligned, meaning, they do not line up properly when closed. This could be due to crooked teeth that have never been corrected or to a missing tooth which causes all of the other teeth to shift.

Whatever the cause of the issue, if your teeth are not able to meet properly when you open and close your mouth, this destabilizes the occlusion of the jaw. This destabilization can result in considerable stress on the joints or muscles surrounding the jaw which may in turn, cause bruxism.

Sleeping Disorder

Having a sleeping disorder is quite commonly linked with teeth grinding. Existing conditions that make an individual more prone to suffering from bruxism include the following:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Snoring
  • Nighttime acid reflux
  • Parasomnia types like: sleep talking, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucinations, etc.

If you suffer from one of these disorders, then you are at a higher risk of developing bruxism. Talk to one of our dentists now to learn more.

Additional Lifestyle Factors

While not directly responsible for teeth grinding, there are a number of lifestyle practices that can contribute to the heightened risk of developing bruxism. Examples include abusing psychoactive substances such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, recreational and illicit drugs, as well as medications used for depression and anxiety. The use of any one or combination of these substances can lead to problems falling asleep and staying asleep, which is known to contribute to bruxism.

Contact Addison Dental Today!

If you suffer from bruxism or suspect that you might, talk to one of the friendly associates at Addison Dental! Do so as soon as possible before any problems attributed to teeth grinding become worse. Contact us today at 630-984-9850 so we may address your teeth grinding and overall oral health.