If you’ve recently been told that you suffer from bruxism (grinding, clenching, or gnashing of the teeth), you might be perplexed. Many people with bruxism aren’t aware they have it because they grind their teeth at night, while sleeping. And even if you grind your teeth during the daytime, you may not be aware that you have this subconscious habit until a dentist or doctor spots the symptoms: sensitive teeth, a sore jaw, headaches, etc. Moreover, teeth grinding strikes many people as a strange habit. What compels people to gnash their teeth together? Why do people grind their teeth?
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
The cause of bruxism varies from patient to patient. If you suffer from this condition, you may need to work with your doctor to determine why you, specifically, are grinding your teeth. Physical issues, psychological issues, genetic factors, or personal habits could be at play.
They suffer from stress, anxiety, or tension.
Sometimes bruxism is a side effect of stress or anxiety. Even when a person is feeling calm or relaxed (or even sleeping), they may grind their teeth or clench their jaw. In addition, some people have a habit of grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw when they’re concentrating hard on something.
They have crooked teeth or an abnormal bite.
The position of teeth and the alignment of the jaw may cause teeth grinding in some situations. When teeth are crooked, their poor positioning may put extra stress on certain teeth, triggering bruxism. Your dentist can help you determine if the alignment of your teeth and/or jaw are causing you to grind your teeth.
They have another medical or mental health disorder.
Bruxism is associated with a variety of other health conditions, including all of the following:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
- Night terrors
- Sleep apnea
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
If you suffer from any of these conditions and you’ve been grinding your teeth, the two may be linked.
They’re taking certain medications.
Some medications can cause bruxism; however, this is uncommon. In particular, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are a type of antidepressant, are sometimes known to cause teeth grinding. Paroxetine, fluoxetine, and sertraline are all examples of SSRIs.
They’ve used tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, or recreational drugs.
Some lifestyle factors and habits make teeth grinding more likely. These include smoking, drinking lots of caffeine (six or more cups per day), drinking alcohol, or using recreational drugs like ecstasy and cocaine.
They have a family history of bruxism.
Bruxism during sleep tends to run in families. In fact, as many as half of people with sleep bruxism have a close family member with the same condition.
Left untreated, bruxism may cause jaw pain, tooth fractures, headaches, and TMJ syndrome, and the teeth will become worn down over time. So if you suspect you grind your teeth (or a frustrated sleep partner has told you that you do), it’s important to seek help ASAP.
Are you dealing with bruxism? Get in touch with your dentist to ensure that it’s not harming your teeth and discuss prevention tools and treatments if necessary. If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist in Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. Schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or request an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!