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Teeth Grinding- Why You Do It and How to Stop

Teeth Grinding- Why You Do It and How to Stop


Bruxism  or teeth grinding is quite common among people and depending on the phase in which it develops, it is also quite treatable.

The definition and types of Bruxism

Bruxism, also called bruxing, is more commonly known as tooth grinding or clenching. Bruxism can happen consciously or unconsciously, while you’re sleeping or while awake.

  • Awake Bruxism

As the name suggests, awake bruxism occurs while a person is awake. This clenching or grinding of teeth is thought to be the result of a psychological factor such as stress or depression.

This type of bruxism can easily be controlled just by being mindful of the habit.

  • Nocturnal Bruxism

As opposed to awake bruxism, this type of bruxism happens unconsciously while a person is asleep. After that person wakes up, they may experience jaw, mouth, and tooth pain, as well as headaches.

The causes of Bruxism

There are many causes for the grinding or clenching of teeth, and because bruxism can cause many oral complications itself; it is important to identify and treat these causes.

  • Stress

Stress is a major reason why some people clench their jaws or grind their teeth. The result of significant pressure, tension, or stressful situations can cause bruxism to occur.

If the main reason for the stress is not identified and dealt with, the condition may worsen over time and cause other complications.

  • Anxiety disorder

Mental health disorders could also be the cause of bruxism.

Anxiety disorder presents itself in the form of severe fear or worry, and is powerful enough to cause even unconscious bruxism.

  • Misalignment of teeth

The irregular alignment of the jaw could cause a misalignment of the teeth which could in term result in jaw pain. This resulting condition often leads to the clenching or grinding of the teeth.

  • Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a deep sleep disorder that affects the breathing of a person and is often accompanied by the clenching or grinding of the teeth.

  • Cracked tooth

This syndrome, which is observed as a crack of the tooth, is often accompanied by pain as well as bruxism.

As it could eventually lead to a loss of the tooth, treatment is highly recommended.

The symptoms of Bruxism

  • There are some signs of bruxism that you may notice.
  • The obvious sign is the clenching or grinding of teeth
  • Having a fractured, chipped or loose tooth could also lead to bruxism
  • Having exposed deep layers of your tooth because of worn-out tooth enamel
  • An increase in tooth sensitivity and pain
  • Misalignment and disarrangement of teeth causes your jaw muscles to tighten
  • Having dull headaches originating from the temples
  • Suffering from sleep disorder and disruption
  • Damage from chewing inside of the cheeks
  • Suffering from soreness or pain around the jaw


  • Conscious dental practices and the use of a nightguard (orthotic), to protect your teeth, can help stop bruxism.
  • If stress caused by bruxism is adding up to your stress level, I recommend seeking professional help about this issue. Medication could be prescribed to help you with it.

Here are a few useful tips that can help reduce the clenching or grinding of teeth:

  • Cut down the intake of drinks and foods with a high concentration of caffeine, such as chocolate and coffee
  • Pay close attention to your oral hygiene by adopting regular oral exercises
  • Avoid drinking alcohol as well as smoking
  • Avoid chewing gum, ice or non-food objects such as pencils
  • If you’re suffering from a misalignment of teeth, try fixing it through orthodontics or braces or an occlusal equilibration from your dentist.
  • Consult with your therapist to determine the level of bruxism and the required solution


Bruxism is a common dental condition that can be easily treated but could also cause serious complications if left untreated.

To read more on Bruxism,and other oral care problems, be sure to visit Toothbrush Life.

Kelly Hancock, RDH

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